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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Two Tragedies Draw Negative Attention to Oil & Gas Industry

From Shale Reporter:

State and federal investigators and an independent team hired by Antero Resources have begun investigating a natural gas well explosion that burned five workers in north-central West Virginia over the weekend.
Work on the nearly completed Hinterer 1H well near New Milton in Doddridge County has been halted while the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and two independent safety firms hired by Colorado-based Antero investigate what went wrong.
Read the whole article here. 

And from the New York Times:
Around the smoldering, oil-soaked crater in the heart of Lac-Mégantic, a small Quebec town where an unmanned train with 72 tank cars carrying crude oil derailed and exploded early on Saturday, killing at least five people, the search for victims and causes is still on.
Attention will soon focus on some misstep by a train crewman or maintenance worker or the like. But the chain of responsibility goes much further. While investigations proceed, here’s some context to mull.
In case you missed it, the oil was being carried from America’s new oil patch,the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota, to a St. John, New Brunswick, refinery that, according to the owner, Irving Energy, sends more than half of its 300,000 daily barrels of petroleum products back across the border to the northeastern United States.
As I wrote during the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, as long as we depend heavily on oil, we all “own” a portion of every disaster related to oil extraction, transport or use.
Read the rest here.

Before and after photos from Lac-Mégantic train derailment and explosion

Grist comments further on this disaster, with updated data and some focus on the environmental impact:

The deadly oil-train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on Saturday also sparked an environmental disaster. An oil sheen has stretched more than 60 miles down a river that’s used as a source of drinking water.
 
By Tuesday morning, 13 people had been confirmed dead and some 37 were still missing after runaway train cars loaded with fracked crude from North Dakota derailed in the town and ignited. Lac-Mégantic’s fire chief said the fire is now under control, but a small area of town is still off limits for safety reasons. Emergency crews continue to search for bodies of the missing. Officials are urging relatives to provide them with DNA, such as on toothbrushes, to help them identify the dead, and are warning that some of the bodies may never be identified. 
Meanwhile, water and environment officials are facing up to a crisis of their own. An estimated 26,000 gallons of oil that spilled from the rail cars flowed into the Chaudière River. 
Read the rest of that article here. 

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