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By Tripp Baltz
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) Aug. 22 directed the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to upgrade its rules on inspection and pressure-testing of natural gas flow lines, one of a series of steps he has taken to improve safety following two deadly accidents.Hickenlooper announced in all seven steps the state will take involving the oil and gas industry. In April, two men were killed when a leaking flow line connected to a natural gas well owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co. caused a house to explode near Firestone, Colo. In May, a worker was killed and three others were seriously injured in an explosion caused by a buildup of combustible products in a trench being dug between oil storage tanks at an Anadarko site.
The direction to the OGCC involves rules for natural gas flow lines connecting wellheads to production facilities. The governor also called for an enhancement of the “8-1-1” system, where people can call to learn the location of underground pipelines before digging. Hickenlooper directed the commission to develop rules similar to those contained in a notice to oil and gas operators he ordered sent out following the Firestone explosion. The notice required companies to identify, inspect, and pressure-test all flowlines within 1,000 feet of homes and other occupied buildings. That process resulted in the testing of 120,000 flow lines at 23,000 different well sites across the state, he said.
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