Last night we had storms with high wind and some lightning. Something happened at a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well in Arlington, Texas. From an email:
Around 2 am last night, during the storm with lighting and winds, there was this transformer sound just prior to losing electricity. After opening her windows, an extremely loud “rocketship/high compression sound” was heard. 911 was already aware of the problem and said Chesapeake was in route to the Fulson site. The husband drove by the site and confirmed that gas was escaping. He described the smell as the innertube smell from a bicycle
It was confirmed that raw natural gas or methane, along with the host of toxins that come with it from the formation, was escaping into the air.
One resident was treated by 911. I am told the paramedic give her the following ERRONEOUS information.
The paramedic commented that this was a highly regulated industry and that west Texas always has that “smell” and that she was “safe”
If you can smell the toxins, you are being exposed. (Even if you can’t smell them…)
The woman suffered from uncontrolled coughing and heart palpitations, both common symptoms in the gas patch.
Clearly, we are not prepared for these kinds of emergencies.
UPDATE: We have since learned, after many storms that caused power outages, what happens to shale oil & gas wells during storms. If there is a power outage, the pipelines shut down but the wells keep producing. Pressure builds up and the pressure valves blow releasing the natural gas and toxins and causing the condensate and other liquids to spill. Because the gas and other products are under pressure this can sound like a freight train. It scares residents and they often experience health impacts.
To anonymous commenter: Naw, no need to worry about lightning strikes