Pipeline Blast Kills 1; Hurts 2

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 @ 04:07 PM gHale


BP is investigating the cause of an explosion at a natural gas compressor station in western Colorado that killed one worker and injured two others.

The incident occurred June 25 at 8:15 a.m. during maintenance on a pipeline at BP’s Pinon compressor station near Bayfield, a gathering hub for production from the company’s San Juan basin, the company said.

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BP officials did not have a timeframe for when the station would come back online. It handles about 30 million cubic feet of gas per day, which is a small fraction of U.S. daily supply.

“We just don’t have a lot of new information right now,” a company spokesman said. BP said in a separate statement that an investigation was underway, and the company would cooperate with probes by federal, state and local officials.

Traders said the shutdown did not affect natural gas prices, which rose 3 percent to a five-month high on Tuesday on forecasts for warm weather.

BP’s safety record has been in the spotlight in recent years. In 2010, the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 and resulted in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. In 2005, the Texas City refinery explosion killed 15.

In 2006, a BP pipeline in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska leaked more than 5,000 barrels of crude onto the snow-covered tundra from a corrosion-eaten hole, the largest spill ever on the state’s North Slope.

BP lists itself as the top natural gas producer in Colorado, operating around 1,500 wells, most of which are “unconventional” wells, or ones that use new techniques to extract oil or gas from harder-to-reach formations like shale. The company’s operations in the state center on the San Juan basin.



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