Five workers were injured in a fire that broke out around 10:15 Friday morning at an Encana facility in the Jonah Field near Pinedale.
“We do know that some welding work was being conducted on some condensate tanks," company spokesperson Doug Hock says. "This was a battery of half a dozen tanks. However, the exact reason for the fire is not known at this time.”
The Wyoming Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday challenging the state’s process for exempting fracking chemicals from public disclosure. Wyoming was the first state in the nation to adopt a disclosure law, but it included what some say is a massive loophole: companies can petition for what’s called a trade secret exemption. They’ve done that more than a hundred times since the law went into effect in 2010.
On Tuesday, Wyoming joined the growing list of states that will require groundwater testing at oil and gas wells before and after drilling occurs. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted to require three rounds of testing at water wells within a half-mile of the drilling pad.
Companies will have to test for a variety of potential contaminants in the water, from volatile organic compounds to bacteria. In comments following the vote, Governor Matt Mead praised his fellow commissioners for approving the rules.
‘Gasland 2’, a sequel to the 2010 documentary ‘Gasland,’ premiers this weekend in New York City. The original film focused on land owners alleging that oil and gas development on their land contaminated their water sources. The movie is thought to have brought the terms ‘fracking’ into the mainstream. The films’ director, Josh Fox, says the sequel investigates how government and regulatory agencies have dealt with what affected land owners say is contamination by industry.
The Powder River Basin Resource Council has drawn up a list of recommendations to protect groundwater resources during energy production.
The group’s Jill Morrison says they want the state to document how much water is available in aquifers, and to limit how much water can be used for oil and gas production in certain areas where water resources are scarce.
“Because we know, for example, in the Powder River Basin, we’ve really drawn down our main aquifer that supplies domestic use … through the coalbed methane development,” Morrison said.
The Department of Interior has authorized a 60 day extension of the comment period for the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations, following concerns from the oil and gas industry. The rules would call for companies that use fracking to disclose the chemicals they use, and address waste water and drilling issues.
The Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission says that workers from Chesapeake energy are making progress in trying to control a gas leak near Douglas. Commission Supervisor Tom Doll says that efforts will continue through the weekend.
On Tuesday at the oil rig caused the well to release an unknown quantity of gas into the air,and some residents were evacuated. Weather conditions hampered containment efforts, but one evacuee, Kristi Mogen,is frustrated that the company is not acting faster. And she’s upset that the wells were drilled so close to her house in the first place.
Gas prices have risen quickly in Wyoming over the past month in keeping with national trends.
The average statewide cost reached $3.61 per gallon this week. That’s almost a 47-cent increase from a month ago, according to GasBuddy.com, a company that tracks prices at gas stations across the U.S. and Canada.
Wyoming’s average gasoline cost is still $.28 cheaper than the national average.
A new report tracks the amount of oil and gas drilling that’s gone on over the past 10 years in different counties across the Rocky Mountains.
Julia Haggerty, one of the authors of the report, says the pace and scale of drilling has a profound effect on local communities – not only during the height of a boom, but in the time right before and after. Haggerty says more research needs to be done on how counties rebound after a bust.