Another oil and gas fracking disposal well explodes

The former title of this blog post was: Tank explosion at Eagle Ford Shale fracking site T

Philip Collier left a sweet comment to set me straight that the explosion and fire had nothing to do with fracking. It was just some more of that “saltwater” that catches fire.

This happened south of Pearsall, Texas which is southwest of San Antonio.

They have a great video on KSAT TV.

Pearsall and Dilley firefighters spent several hours working to contain a tank fire that left three workers at a fracking site hurt.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, an explosion knocked the top off one of the tanks, launching it 25 yards in the air.

“All the oil spread and started burning on top of those frack tanks,” said Placido Aguilar, Pearsall Fire Chief.

He said firefighters also monitored levels of hydrogen sulfide, which is a poisonous gas.

“It’s always dangerous,” Aguilar said. “You had a well that was still going we had to shut down and several tanks we had to close valves to.

Three workers were hurt. One was taken by AirLife to San Antonio’s University Hospital. Their conditions were not known, but the police chief said the men were all conscious and breathing.

Hydrogen Sulfide, H2S is deadly and they have a lot of it in the EFS.

UPDATE: Another media story Three people were injured when a storage tank at a saltwater disposal facility in South Texas caught fire after an explosion on Thursday. The photo shows the intensity of the fire.

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.

Comments

  1. says

    Sharon,
    Thank you for reporting so quickly on our incident in South Texas. There are however a few problems with your reporting. 1: This is NOT a “fracking job”. This well was for disposal. 2: The well was complete. No one had to “shut down” the well. 3: Your valuable source is a local delivery man.
    I suggest before you go reporting on highly dangerous and explosive frack wells you get your “facts” correct. I’m all for saving the world, just please leave South Texas alone.

    • says

      Philip,

      As you can see from the link in my blog post, I simply posted what was reported in the media outlet for your area.

      Because the oil and gas industry is so secretive, it is hard for us peons–the people living on the land and in the middle of all the mayhem your industry causes–to determine exactly what is happening. When I watched the video, it didn’t look like any fracking operation I’ve ever seen but it did look like frack tanks might have been off to the side.

      It’s so interesting that disposal wells blow up and catch fire as often as they do since industry assures us constantly that it’s simply saltwater. I bet you could stand at the ocean with an endless supply of matches and it would never catch fire.

      There is one thing you can count on, Philip, I won’t be leaving South Texas alone. I have many friends there and a growing group of concerned citizens.

      Thank you for commenting.

      • Jax says

        Hi TXsharon,

        Could you please provide a reference or source for your below statement:

        “It’s so interesting that disposal wells blow up and catch fire as often as they do since industry assures us constantly that it’s simply saltwater.”

        Thank you!
        Jax

      • Jax says

        Hi TXsharon,

        Could you please provide a reference or source for your below statement:

        “It’s so interesting that disposal wells blow up and catch fire as often as they do since industry assures us constantly that it’s simply saltwater.”

        Thank you,
        Jax

          • Jax says

            Hi TXsharon,

            I was hoping you could provide a substantiated source for your statement. I’m sure that you do have quite a few posts about exploding disposal wells, however, that hardly qualifies as legit. Besides, the few posts that I have read seem to be nothing but unsubstantiated mudslinging. Enjoyable reading though.

            Thanks,
            Jax

          • says

            Well Jax,

            Why would you be surprised about fires at disposal wells? They handle lots of materials that laced with hydrocarbons. They skim the hydrocarbons off and stick them in a pond or tank. Then they have some welders come do some welding or an engine sparks or… If you search for disposal wells or injections wells or explosions you can turn up quite a few posts about it.

            Please be specific if you are going to accuse me of unsubstantiated anything.

      • Jax says

        uuuuhhhh, OK. That was a lot of nothing.

        So, I’ll take your attempt at misdirection as – NO, a source can’t be provided.

        BTW – nowhere in my previous two posts do I appear surprised, ask what they handle, how they work, how they catch fire, or accuse you of anything. I simply asked for a legitimate source for your statement that I quoted above.

        “Please be specific if you are going to accuse me of unsubstantiated anything.”- TXsharon.

        How much more specific can I get than a direct quote from you? I will be more than happy to link, in my opinion, the unsubstantiated mudslinging from within this site. What else is it other than unsubstantiated mudslinging if you cant provide legit references? Of course, unless the rules don’t apply to you. Which is fine if that’s the case, but you need to let people know their reading fiction under the guise of fact.

        Good reading though…….
        Jax

          • Jax says

            Okay, with all due respect, I’ll give you benefit of the doubt and say you’re just unclear as to what a creditable reference is. I did, however, humor your idea of a Google search query as somehow being a creditable reference and opened the provided link (I even turned the page).

            Here are just a few reasons why anyone with any intellect won’t use a Google search query as a reference: 1) The query will yield ever changing documents/results (what appears today won’t be the same as what appears tomorrow). 2) Most of the results on the first page are of the same incident, which make it look like disposal well fires are a common occurrence. 3) When I “turned” the page, the very top article was completely irrelevant, it was just an article that happened to have the terms “disposal well” and “fire” contained within it’s body. 4) I won’t even list the most important reason why Google isn’t considered a reference or source.

            Sadly, this is just another attempted smear campaign without much basis in fact.

        • says

          Dear Jax,

          I provided you with a Google search that turns up news stories of 4 or 5 different cases where disposal wells exploded and burned. NEWS REPORTS Jax. Please don’t tell me that after you DEMANDED I do the searches for you, you didn’t bother to click through and read the stories.

          Oh, BTW, another disposal well blew up just this week.

          http://www.texassharon.com/2012/01/25/rumor-has-it-valley-view-fracking-disposal-well-burns/

          It really is so interesting that disposal wells blow up and catch fire as often as they do since industry assures us constantly that it’s simply saltwater.

          Thanks for commenting.

          • Jax says

            Good Morning TXsharon,

            Thank you for removing all doubt.

            Not once did I demand you to do anything, I simply asked for a creditable/substantiated source.

            Clearly this is your site, and without question, you can trumpet whatever you wish whether its true, false, or just an outright lie. However, you should let your readers know this is just for entertainment purposes only

          • Jax says

            Thanks TXsharon! I appreciate and accept your offer to continue with my entertaining comments. After all…

            Entertainment is what this site all about. Thanks for providing the platform.

  2. GhostBlogger says

    “Used frack water catches fire!” still grabs attention.

    Someone is already sending that picture of the fire out on Facebook, labeled “Drill Baby Drill!”

    • Jax says

      Not surprised by your childish comment at all, in fact, it was expected. Congrats!! you’ve managed to miss the point entirely. Again.

      Continue to serve the kool-aid here, just unfortunate that nobody with any credibility will drink it.

      Don’t think that everyone who asked a question or doesn’t immediately inflate your ego with compliments about how great your are, is against you and on the side of the oil companies. I would like to support you and your type, but you make it very difficult. Trust me your not the first one to react this why to a simple request. When the hypocrisy stops and the facts start, count me in.

      Be honest with yourself, if you asked Exxon for a source or reference and they provided you with a Google search query and a right wing blog………see what I mean. Exactly why your voice is all but silent.

  3. GhostBlogger says

    Another story about this:

    http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/01/20/explosion-and-fire-at-south-texas-fracking-site/

    Welding near those tanks caused this. No one bothered to use a flammable vapor detector when welding around those tanks? Those types of meters have been around for years!

    A pipeline repair crew in Maryland in 1970 had a dozen men burned from failing to use such a meter, and leaking gasoline was ignited by equipment there. Oops.

    A pipeline repair crew in Nebraska in 1968 didn’t bother using one of those meters, while going to fix a leak in an LPG pipeline. They just guess the vapors were gone, & drove into the unseen vapors. 5 men killed. Oops.

    Since no Agency in Texas requires vapor control/recovery systems around frack water tanks, then can also be partially to blame. Yet, those vapor recovery systems are supposed to pay for themselves in a few years.

    • FrackingCrazy says

      The AMERICAN company in Midland, TX that makes vapor recovery claims they will pay for themselves in 6 months.

      More AMERICAN JOBS:

      Mandate Vapor Recovery.

      Midland could use the jobs/business.

      I love all the BS lies they tell us, like we’re stoopid.

      It’s a no wonder the government wants the power to shut down the internet…

      Too much information out there getting them in trouble….

  4. Jeff Stone says

    I was sent your article by a friend that knows that I am a geologist with 37 years of experience in the oilfield and used to own a commercial disposal well. First the oilfield is not as secretive as you suggest but that our industry has a jargon all of its own as well as technology not common to other industries. When we furnish information to the public, they aften had no idea what we just told them. For instance, the tank that caught on fire was a frac tank. It is called that because the are temporary tanks used for storage, most often used in the process of hydraulically fracturing a well. Here was not the case as it was used to store slop oil skimmed off the saltwater when the water is delivered to the disposal well. This oil which is a waste but is not called waste oil because that is the term used for recycled motor oil in another industry.

    • says

      Thank you for your comment, Jeff.

      It seems your opinion is that the public is too dumb to understand so you have to protect us from ourselves by not fully disclosing what you are doing and what you are using. I’ve heard that from industry before. We are actually much smarter than you think. We also have scientists and petroleum engineers with whom we consult. So feel free to lay that technology on us and get it all out in the open.

      Since disposal wells tend to blow up when guys are trying to weld–this is not the first,–maybe you need to rethink your process and develop some technologh to keep the welders safe from the explosive drilling and fracking byproducts.

  5. Jeff Stone says

    Further vapor recovery would not pertain to this type of tanks since they are only temporary. The temporary tanks are necessary at the moment because there is a shortage of disposal wells and this new facility is swamped with business and apparently slop oil that they can not get sold and moved off the location. There are plenty of businesses willing to solve this shortage of disposal wells but permitting that is supposed to take 30-60 days now has a 6 month backlog at the texas Railroad Commission. As for the “drill baby drill” comment, natural gas is now priced much below $3 down from $12 a few years ago, because of the shale drilling in the US. Many in colder climates will have much lower heating costs if they use natural gas which shows that the oil and gas industry can develop American reserves to reduce costs, better the balance of trade, increase employment and strengthen the US dollar with environmentally sound practices especially if not taxed as much and with reduced governmental interference.

    • says

      Yesterday an article (on CNN Money, I think) said to expect a 54% increase domestically from exporting. Of course, that’s exactly what the industry wants. They MUST figure out these things:

      1. How to increase demand and drive up prices domestically.
      2. How to fool people into thinking fracking and all the other processes are safe.
      3. What to do with the MASSIVE amounts of solid and liquid waste that is generated by fracking and drilling. (As you can see from Jeff’s comment, there is a huge problem with waste disposal. They can’t figure out how to get rid of it fast enough and they are running out of places to put it.)

      That’s just for starters.

  6. Jack McClintock says

    What happened to all of that “hope and change” from Obama ? I thought gasoline would be about $2 a gallon by now.

  7. Peterk says

    I wonder how many wellsites TxSharon has actually visited?, gone up on the deck, watched the drilling etc

    • says

      Ahm, I lived in Wise County for 16 years and before that I worked in the industry. You might remember the significance of Wise County in the whole shale deal.

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