Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site




Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

CO Officials Call for Pipeline Inspections

Thursday, May 11, 2017

More items for Quality Control
More items from North America

Comment | More

Weeks after a damaged natural gas flowline caused a fatal house explosion in Colorado, officials are responding with directives to inspect pipelines near residential areas and publicize the results.

The April 17 explosion that killed two residents in Firestone was caused by unrefined natural gas leaking from a flowline that was thought to be abandoned and hadn’t been properly capped.

The well that the line was attached to, reportedly located less than 200 feet from the house, was put back into service earlier this year. The pipeline, thought to have been damaged at some point by residential construction, began to leak the odorless gas.

Now, lawmakers and officials at the state and local level are taking action to ensure that flowlines are inspected for safety and that residents know where they are. But they face challenges, including the fact that, as the Associated Press reported Monday (May 8), Colorado only employs three people to inspect pipelines running from more than 54,000 wells in the state.

Inspections Ordered

On May 2, Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered oil and gas companies in the state to inspect and pressure-test all oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings, and ensure that any lines not in use are properly marked and capped. He also called for the companies to ensure that all abandoned lines are cut below the surface and sealed.

The order came with two sets of deadlines: 30 days for the inspection of pipelines near buildings and of lines that are abandoned or not in use, and 60 days for pressure testing lines near buildings and executing proper abandoning procedures on those pipelines no longer in use.

The Denver Post reports that until last year, there was no state system in place to monitor flowlines from wells. Prior to that, the state relied on self-reporting by companies running production facilities.

Companies Shut Down Wells

In late April, while the cause of the Firestone explosion was still under investigation, well owner Andarko Petroleum decided to temporarily shut down 3,000 older vertical natural-gas wells across the northeastern part of the state. Days later, Great Western Oil and Gas said it had identified 61 flowlines within about 250 feet of occupied buildings, and was shutting down the wells associated with those lines until the pipelines could be confirmed to be safe.

Municipal Action

Officials in Longmont, a city just northeast of Firestone, announced last week that they would be taking action to evaluate the safety of wells and flowlines within the city limits. According to the Reporter-Herald, that amounts to 17 wells, along with the attendant pipelines.

And the commissioners in Boulder County called on all oil and gas operators in that jurisdiction to “identify the location of their active and inactive pipelines and provide that information to the County,” and “take steps to guarantee the safety of these pipelines for all county residents.”

Both Longmont and Boulder County have been engaged in battles with the oil and gas industry in recent years, instituting bans on hydraulic fracturing and, in the county’s case, a moratorium on all new oil and gas development, which expired at the beginning of this month.

Mapping Bill Blocked

Last week, two Democratic representatives introduced a bill that would have required oil and gas companies to give the government notice of the location of all flowlines, gathering pipelines and transmission pipelines. The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, which oversees the industry, would then post the information on a searchable database on its website.

The bill passed the House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs on a 6-3 vote but was blocked through a filibuster by Republicans late Monday; the legislation would have had to pass Monday before midnight in order to make it to the governor’s desk before the General Assembly adjourns this week.

While state House Democrats argued that the online map would increase safety, Republicans held that the rule wouldn’t improve safety at all and would simply increase regulatory burdens.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat and onetime petroleum-industry geologist, reportedly supports the idea of mapping pipelines but has said that it could be left to county or local authorities if state legislators wouldn’t approve it.

Before the explosion happened, three House Democrats had introduced a bill seeking to clarify that new oil and gas production facilities must be located at least 1,000 feet from school property lines. That legislation passed the House but was postponed in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy.

Flowline Corrosion Report

Earlier in April, more than a week before the Firestone blast, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported on an audit performed for the Oil and Gas Commission that found that about half of spills in oil and gas flowlines in the state stem from corrosion.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Corrosion; Environmental Protection; Health and safety; Oil and Gas; Pipeline

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Fischer Technology Inc.
TSA Coatings on Stainless Steel
Fischer’s Phascope PMP10 and ESD20TSA probe are incredibly accurate and easy to use.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
Instrument Service Department
Are you a QP certified contractor? KTA’s Instrument Service Department can help keep you compliant!
Click or call 1-800-KTA-GAGE.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement
Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!

DeFelsko Corporation
PosiTector SHD Shore Hardness Durometer
PosiTector SHD measures the hardness of non-metallic materials. Features a measurement timer, auto ignore mode and internal memory. Shore A or D available.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.
Full Surface Protection for Up to One Year
HT 365 is a preservation, single component, anti-corrosive coating, a water displacing agent, a lubricant, and a penetrating fluid. It creates an imperceptible thin-film coating that offers excellent salt contaminant and humidity protection. Contact your HoldTight® representative or visit for more information.

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotun Jotachar 1709
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800

CS Unitec
Dust Control Surface Prep Industrial Tools for Steel and Concrete
Scarifying • Grinding Scabbling • Descaling Dust collection for safer working conditions. Low-vibration for less worker fatigue. Trelawny™ power tools from CS Unitec. Learn more…

ABKaelin, LLC
Programs/Training/Monitoring for Silica, Lead, Noise, Beryllium, Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Hazardous Waste*PM10 & TSP-Lead Ambient Air Monitoring*SSPC C3/C5

Sauereisen, Inc.
Substrate Repair Materials

Substrate Repair Materials and Filler Compounds

Sauereisen's full line of underlayments are the ideal substrate repair materials to restore structural integrity prior to the application of SewerGard©


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us