Update: IR Video: EagleRidge flowback vapors at UNT Apogee Athletic Stadium

Flowback tanks on fire

This video was taken by Calvin Tillman of ShaleTest using a FLIR GasFindIR HSX camera. This camera makes visible the volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are invisible to the naked eye. The site is operated by EagleRidge Operating LLC and is across the street from the University of North Texas new Apogee Athletic Stadium. There are two more wells permitted for that location.

Independent laboratory (third party) testing confirms that the GasFindIR cameras can see the following gases at the minimum detected leak rate (MDLR):

  • 1-Pentene – 5.6g/hr
  • Benzene – 3.5g/hr
  • Butane -0.4g/hr
  • Ethane – 0.6g/hr
  • Ethanol – 0.7g/hr
  • Ethylbenzene – 1.5g/hr
  • Ethylene – 4.4g/hr
  • Heptane – 1.8g/hr
  • Hexane – 1.7g/hr
  • Isoprene – 8.1g/hr
  • MEK – 3.5g/hr
  • Methane – 0.8g/hr
  • Methanol – 3.8g/hr
  • MIBK – 2.1g/hr
  • Octane – 1.2g/hr
  • Pentane – 3.0g/hr
  • Propane – 0.4g
  • Propylene – 2.9g/hr
  • SF6 (Sulfur Hexaflouride) – 0.026g/hr
  • Toluene – 3.8g/hr
  • Xylene – 1.9g/hr

The GF-Series cameras also detect:

  • Acetic Acid (C2H4O2)
  • Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3)
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2)
  • Dichlorodifluoromethane “FREON-12″ (CCl2F2)
  • Ethyl Cyanoacrylate “Superglue” (C6H7NO2)
  • Ethylene (C2H4)

This is what the Vintage Neighborhood can expect anytime now.

UPDATE: The Vintage Neighborhood will do citizen reports at the next City Council meeting

Tuesday, November 19, 2013, at 6:30 PM
City Hall 215 E. McKinney Denton, TX 76201
The Vintage/S. Bonnie Brae neighborhood needs our help! Come to the City Council meeting on Nov. 19 to stand in solidarity with our fellow residents against urban fracking.

Wear red- the goal is to have the room filled with Denton residents in red, showing our support for the neighborhood and our opposition to fracking in this area.

This neighborhood is not being protected by the City of Denton’s ordinance. The 1,200 ft. setback distance does not apply to most of the fracking in this neighborhood due to loopholes and vested rights. We want to tell our elected representatives that this is not acceptable!

Message or email with any questions or concerns:

The American Petroleum Institute number for this well is 121-32307. The name is Mayday Unit 4H. The P-12 document below shows the mineral owners.

Mineral owners in gas well next to UNT Apogee Stadium

See this industry presentation to understand how dangerous these volatile compounds are. Note the presentation admits that “gas vapors” are intentionally vented into the air. If they don’t vent the flowback, the tank will explode. Frack tank explosions have been fatal. Pressurized flowback tanks are available but industry does not use them unless it is mandated.

Multiple frac tanks have exploded throughout the U.S.

Flowback tanks on fire
UPDATE: This venting of flowback was happening when UNT had their homecoming bonfire at Apogee. Here is what Mark Grawe told the Denton Record Chronicle:

Mark Grawe, who is executive vice president of operations with EagleRidge Energy, said that the company wasn’t concerned about the proximity of the two events.

“They’re assuming there’s methane in the air,” Grawe said of neighborhood concerns. “We would either be putting the gas down a sales line or flaring it.” LINK

According to the XTO presentation posted above, there are enough “natural gas & oil vapors” to cause an explosion. Natural gas is methane. So Grawe either lied or he doesn’t know enough about the process to be operating that close to school activities.  IJS


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. Adam says

    Sharon – can you explain to us if requiring green completions would eliminate these emissions? Or is this already considered a ‘green completion’ because they are not using a frack pit? Or does that only apply later in the completion process when more methane is coming up? I am confused…is there a way to prevent all those fumes? This looks nasty – can’t believe it is about to come to a neighborhood.

    • Tim Ruggiero says

      Can they prevent these emissions? Sure. Industry frequently touts ‘new technology that prevents emissions’, and they will have you believe it’s being used. Haven’t seen a single site where it is used, though. Industry is also given a free pass on emissions through the permitting process that allows them to release up to 25 tons without another permit exceeding that. The operator only has to ‘believe’ the emissions aren’t more than 25 tons. But it really doesn’t matter, because no one, i.e., TRRC or TCEQ aren’t measuring anyway. If you were to report this, the TCEQ or maybe the TRRC will test, but by the time their report is complete, the operator will be way past this stage of the drill process. At most, the additional permit will be required, rubber stamped like all the others, and the cycle of wash, rinse, repeat continues.

      • says

        I have yet to know of a single case of flowback where the TCEQ got to the site when flowback was happening or where they actually detected anything. Part of that may be because they cannot get access to the site without permission of the operator and what operator would agree to that? Calvin would have taken a canister but he couldn’t get close enough without risking trespass. If you trespass on the criminals’ property they will prosecute you like a criminal. Conundrum.

    • Kim Feil says

      Adam this is “topflow” stage and some idiots like to call that “steam” (TCEQ told me that is vapor under pressure=BOOM is why it has to “vent”. They do have pressurized, closed, ventless, flowback tanks that I believe Devon has or is using in the Eagleford…but alas they are not mandated and are more expensive…I call those “Urban Drilling Flowback Tanks”. In the video here, those tanks are the “standard” Open Hatch Flowback Tanks, but I call those “Rural Flowback Tanks”. I can call them what I want, but unless the City Councils write their ordinancea AND ENFORCE them to mandate Best Available Control Technologies (BACT)….we will continue to be exposed. Colleyville had language in their ordinance for NO emissions, but that wasn’t enforced. Arlington allows indirect venting with wording in their loopholed riddened ordinance. Arlington’s ordinance provides for “industry standard” equipment and not BACT. I tried to get flowback date info so I could check the winds and evacuate my family, but did not get cooperation from Chesapeake or the city….How hard is it for people to understand that industry standard does not apply to densely populated areas?…even the industry standard in rural areas has fracked up and risks our soil, air, food, and water…we all suffer eventually…with urban drilling…the air is already bad but add industrial mini sites and then to not use BACT is what we are enduring. Former Arlington Councilman “Meth Mel” LeBlanc called it “co-habitating with drill sites”.

  2. says

    It is even going to be worse for the Vintage/South Bonnie Brae neighborhood because they are sandwiched between 2 gas well sites which are 1000ft apart with the neighborhood trapped in the middle. As Mark Grawe from Eagle Ridge and Darren Groth our gas well administrator pointed out in a neighborhood meeting “Eagle Ridge complied with putting the gas well sites a 1000 ft apart when it was not required” how grateful the neighborhood should be to ER. Unless of course you realize they put the gas well sites 1000 ft apart because there were too many homes in the middle to put them any closer. God does the bullshit ever stop?

  3. GhostBlogger says

    Them saltwater tanks are perfectly harmless-NOT!


    Explosion, fire destroy 13 storage tanks at saltwater disposal site

    ALEXANDER, N.D. — A noontime explosion at a saltwater disposal well site Thursday near Alexander dumped 2,440 barrels of saltwater and 270 barrels of oil and destroyed 13 storage tanks at a disposal facility owned by Mesa Oil Services….