WV-DEP Issues Stop Work Order at Jay-Bee Gas Well Pad

by Duane Nichols on January 9, 2014

Sixth Tank Exploded on Lisby Pad

WV-DEP News: Cease Operations Order Issued for Lisby Well Pad in Tyler County

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014 @ 1:30 PM
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The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas (OOG) has issued a Notice of Violation, as well as a Cease Operations Order, to Jay Bee Oil & Gas in connection with the company’s Lisby gas well pad in Tyler County.

The Lisby pad was the site of a January 2nd incident during which a tank ruptured and leaked fluids to surrounding grounds on the well site. One worker was injured as a result of the incident.   

As part of the OOG order, which halts all well work on the Lisby pad not necessary as part of gaining control of activities on the pad, Jay-Bee Oil & Gas must submit a report to the OOG on or before January 14, 2014, that demonstrates a knowledge and understanding as to the cause of the tank rupture; demonstrates Jay-Bee’s ability to safely resume operations on the pad; and outlines future preventative measures to be used to safeguard against similar incidents.

Also, as part of the order, Jay-Bee is required to provide an analysis of the fluids contained in the ruptured tank; submit to the OOG a proposal for soil sampling and a remediation plan to remove and dispose of any contaminated soil from the impacted areas; submit to the OOG a proposal for water sampling, including plans for containment and removal of any pollutants found; and provide an after-action report that details Jay-Bee’s testing and remediation activity, including all sampling data, as a result of the order.

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WEST VIRGINIA: Well pad explosion sends tank flying, injuring one worker 

By Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter, EnergyWire, January 8, 2014

An oil and gas contractor broke his ankle last week as a battery tank holding hydraulic fracturing fluids and crude oil exploded in West Virginia with enough force to deform the metallic structure and toss it 100 feet. The incident happened at 11:30 p.m. Thursday in Tyler County at the Lisby well pad of Jay-Bee Oil and Gas, a small independent driller based in West Virginia that is a repeat environmental and safety offender, at least since 2010.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has cited the company for 21 environmental violations since 2010, and the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration has cited the company for 38 worker safety violations. The incident suggests that environmental and worker safety violations often go hand in hand.

In the latest incident, it is likely the tank contained vapors that were “somehow ignited, possibly by static electricity, but that has not been confirmed,” wrote Thomas Aluise, communications director for the WV-DEP, in an email. The well was being hydraulically fractured at the time of the incident.

The tank contained 1,575 gallons of fluids, and some of it spilled on the soil, the DEP said. Most was contained in a dike. The accident caused scaffolding nearby to collapse and strike the worker, who was employed by Baker Hughes. Jay-Bee said in a statement that the worker was released from the hospital over the weekend. It did not provide additional details.

Aluise said the Office of Oil and Gas had not found any contaminants in the nearby Big Run Creek. Residents continued to remain concerned, however, as the grass-roots group Occupy the Hollers measured conductivity in the creek of 7,050 microsiemens per centimeter, indicating high salt content. Most streams have conductivity between 50 and 1,500 microsiemens.

The company has been a repeat offender in the state, often for violations involving the improper construction and maintenance of waste pits and secondary containment barriers. At times, the company has failed to report to the WV-DEP when its wastes have flowed into nearby streams, according to documents provided to EnergyWire in response to a Freedom of Information Act request last year.

For instance, in March 2011, the company stored fracking fluids in open pits that had torn liners, which contaminated the groundwater. The WV-DEP in response ordered the company to stop operations until the pits were fixed and fined the company $57,000.

Separately, OSHA has reacted to complaints about working conditions at Jay-Bee well pads and found a number of violations since 2010. The federal agency has so far fined the company $40,763.

The WV-DEP said Jay-Bee had been ordered to suspend its fracking operations at the Libby well pad and is cleaning up the contaminated soil. The WV-DEP is investigating the accident and assessing fines, Aluise said.

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An Article on this Explosion was published on January 9th in the Wheeling Intelligencer.

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