Something smells off, and it’s not the gas
January 8th, 2015
UPDATE: 14 January 2015:
A preliminary investigation into a leaking gas well in the Canning Basin, Western Australia, by Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum has confirmed suspicions that the well wasn’t leaking as a result of poor equipment or maintenance, but appears to have been sabotaged.
The leaking well was designed to be an activist’s “gotcha” moment. Vision of a gas meter with ‘off the scale’ readings was distributed to the media, and confected outrage soon followed.
Instead, the issue has now figuratively (and luckily, not literally) blown up in the activists faces.
According to media reports, the matter has now been referred to the police in Broome who have visited the site.
DMP executive director Jeff Haworth has confirmed the damage to the valve was deliberate.
“DMP’s preliminary investigation identified unauthorised access to the site and significant, deliberate damage to a valve on the well head,” he said in a written statement.
Mr Haworth said the vandalism and subsequent filming of the gas had put lives at risk.
“It is extremely dangerous to take electrical equipment that is not properly certified into a hazardous location, such as the gas meter in the video,” he said.
The investigation has also found the gas was not leaking constantly, but only released when the valve was deliberately manipulated.
So the question that now needs answering, who would intentionally risk their own life to sabotage a valve?
This incident demonstrates the lengths activists will go to in their campaign against onshore oil and gas, showing again how far anti-industry groups are prepared to go to deceive the community to achieve their own political agendas.
Original story: 8 January 2015
When a local activist group notified the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) of what it claimed was a “dangerous gas leak” at Buru Energy’s Yulleroo-2 well site, the State regulator was quick to respond.
But something didn’t seem quite right about the sensational claims being made, and so it would seem, the facts have proven that to be the case.
As reported here, the cause of the methane leak, which has since been recorded as minor, was due to a damaged valve stem.
So what else did the regulator find?
The DMP inspectors registered low-level readings, with methane levels below the department’s lower explosive limit, and well below the claimed readings that kick-started this episode
“The minor gas leak poses minimal risk and the valve will be repaired as quickly as possible,” DMP petroleum division executive director Jeff Haworth is reported as saying.
In addition, the DMP have considered the actual cause of the damaged valve stem, reportedly stating that it “appears at this stage there has been no equipment or process failure by Buru”.
The DMP is having a closer look at the cause of the incident, with Jeff Haworth telling the West Australian that:
“The damage presents a serious concern if a third party has been involved. In light of the serious nature of the damage involved, the department will be investigating further.”
So, it appears the activists have (yet again) created unnecessary and unfounded public concern in their ongoing quest to attempt to demonise hydraulic fracturing.
We can’t say we are surprised by their tactics. After all, they got their 15 minutes of fame.
So if the company is not at fault, then how did the damage occur? We’ll let you draw your own conclusions….
This is not a case of tomatoe/tomato; this is a case of “major” versus “minor”, where the results appear contrived, the intent is clear and the cause of the leak, rather than the leak itself, stinks.
Some may even question why local activists illegally entered the site in the first place, putting their own health and safety at risk.
If they expect the companies to abide by the rules set out before them, then should they not do the same?