Do not smoke near oil and gas wells because they leak fumes that will explode.

By now, everyone should know that the oil & gas industry is incapable of keeping their product in the pipes. The fumes that leak out will not only make you very sick, they explode. Smoking anywhere near oil & gas facilities is extremely dangerous.

Update: Where was the fence? 

2 People Hurt In East Texas Oil Tank Explosion
January 29, 2013 6:32 AM

This might be a good time to mention another item from the industry PSYOPS conference.

Moderator Michael J. Basilesound bite: How can we lower the bar of the public’s expectations associated with the reality of mistakes   LISTEN

From a previous blog post:

My notes from the PSYOPS conference:

43:43  Question from moderator: Bar is set so high by the public. “Energy production is a contact sport. It’s like going to a football game and not expecting–ever–a player to be left on the field, pardon me, but a graphic  hit. Add to that, it’s a combustible sport, that’s why we want the energy–because it catches fire—and I’m wondering if there’s anything we can do with that context, any way to draw analogy of it so as to lower the bar and associate it with mistakes. It’s a physics based reality that mistakes happen and … be able to hear that. So any thoughts on context in providing the realities associated with human error and other forces that cause mistakes and getting the facts out there almost lessening the demoninator.”

Translation: How can we lower the bar and make it okay that we blow people up sometimes?

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.


  1. GhostBlogger says

    It’s been announced this *was* a crude oil produced water disposal facility:

    “(Three Forks Energy’s Dan) Crawford said he had no details of how the explosion happened. He said initial reports could have assumed that the facility stored oil, and that he was shocked that it could occur at a saltwater disposal facility.”

    Company employees don’t know how dangerous this stuff can be? Yikes, maybe they should be in a different field of work!

    The US Chemical Safety Board has looked into other incidents like this. Frequently, there’s no requirement for a fence around some O&G places, so, people can wander if & accidentally cause disaster. Such fatal accidents caused by the public trespassing has happened in Colorado & Mississippi in recent years.

    It’s strange that some security consultants game Homeland Security funds, into tracking safety & environmental advocates, fearing they will sabotage such places, yet, the body count from unknowing public members causing disaster at energy sites without fences still climbs.

  2. GhostBlogger says

    And, the barbeque grill at a natural gas plant, that Calvin Tillman has on his blog, shows some companies still don’t get it, safety wise. Pipes & gasket fail at any odd time.

  3. Anonymous says

    Lots of H2S dissolved in this “produced water” and the air column above the water is full of H2S gas. Guess what??? H2S will burn and explode–Boom goes the gas!!

    • Andy Mechling says

      Anonymous: Yes, this is correct. Please remember though that
      pipeline specs allow some 10x more CS2 than H2S. CS2 is heavier, more persistent, and 10x as explosive as H2S.
      CS2 reacts with oxygen to form carbonyl sulfide (COS or OCS) and COS reacts with H2O to form H2S. All three love to hang out.
      Any product (gas, condensate, or crude) produced at a fracked well figures to be heavily contaminated with CS2 – from the outset.

      • Anonymous says

        Yes, I agree with you here. Know that the pipeline specs only(to my knowledge) permit/limit certrain chemicals that are corrosive to pipeline materials such as steels–and do not address safety to humans. I was wondering if you know what happens to the CS2 that is produced in the gas when it goes through one of these gas plants?

        • Andy Mechling says

          The fate of the residual CS2 being produced at the wellhead depends on the type of gas process or sweetening employed, and some of this istill mysterious – at least to me. Separating the sulfur compounds from the methane is fairly straightforward. Disposing of this waste is the unpleasant part. Acid gases can be vented or flared, or increasingly injected inderground into so-called disposal wells….or included with liquid wastes and sent to surface impoundments. In these holding ponds the sulfur compounds ” volatolize” to atmosphere – by design.

          • Andy Mechling says

            Also, in terms of the explosiveness of H2s….I dont think you should be too worried about that air column above the tankage. All of those sulfiur gases are so heavy that they can be expected to “pool” at ground level – pretty much right away.
            By the time H2S reaches explosive levels (10% atmosphere or 100,000ppm) folks on the ground there stopped breathing some time ago anyway. They’re not worried – why should you be?

  4. GhostBlogger says

    Well, the US Chmical Safety Board confirmed weak security at this site:

    “The U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said he was deeply concerned by the accident.

    “It is the CSB’s view that states should take proper precautions to ensure that oil and gas production sites are secured properly, with fencing, gates and warning signs to prevent access by teenagers and young adults who are attracted to the sites as secluded places at which to socialize,” he said in a statement.

    Texas regulators last year declined to impose security measures at oil tank storage sites despite recommendations made by the CSB. The state argued the number of accidents wasn’t high enough to warrant new safety measures.

    Moure-Eraso called on Railroad Commission of Texas, an energy regulator, to take the steps needed to prevent accidents like Tuesday’s incident from recurring.”

  5. says

    So the news this morning said that those smokers are getting the books thrown a them for trespassing and vandalism/sabatoge..something like that…they didn’t bother to say how their injuries were…made them out to be crimminals with intent.