Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has temporarily shut down more than 3,000 older, vertical gas wells across northeastern Colorado following a home explosion and fire in the Weld County town of Firestone on April 17 that killed two men and injured their relatives.
The Woodlands-based Anadarko (NYSE: APC), one of Colorado’s biggest oil and gas operators, said it operates an older, vertical well — drilled by a previous operator in 1993 — near the home, which was built recently.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that oversees industry operations, said the old well is about 170 feet southeast of the home. The COGCC said it also is involved in the investigation.
Due to the proximity of the well to the home, Anadarko said it’s been working with fire officials and the state’s regulatory agencies as they conduct their investigations.
Anadarko said it temporarily shut down more than 3,000 older, vertical wells — which collectively produce about 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day — “in an abundance of caution” and as a “proactive” measure.
Authorities have not announced a cause of the blast, and nothing has been disclosed linking Anadarko's operations to the tragedy.
KUSA-9News reported April 21 that local fire officials were “confident” about the cause of the fire, but were holding off releasing it until they are “100 percent certain.”
The explosion and fire leveled a house at 6312 Twilight Ave. in Firestone, located just east of Longmont along Interstate 25. County authorities identified two men killed in the disaster: Mark Joseph Martinez, 42, and his brother-in-law, Joseph William Irwin III, also 42, both of Frederick.
Martinez’s wife, Erin Martinez — who also is Irwin's sister — was critically injured in the blast, and her 11-year-old son was treated and released from a hospital. The Martinezes lived in the house.
The cause of the fire has been under investigation by the Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District, Firestone Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.