Colorado's top regulator says as long as the rules are followed, “there’s very little risk, very little potential harm of having empty, abandoned, plugged, capped lines in the subsurface.”
Cities along the Front Range are growing rapidly and the state’s 54,332 oil and gas wells aren't going anywhere.
A tank explosion happened less than 4 miles away from the Firestone neighborhood, where an April 17 explosion killed two people.
Anadarko believes the wells are safe but is shutting them down because of the "special circumstances and sensitivity surrounding this equipment."
If a flowline isn’t regularly tested and properly abandoned, it can cause problems.
Spokesman Brian Cain said Extraction Oil & Gas always planned to build a pipeline. Neighbors dispute that account.
An April 17 home explosion in Firestone has renewed attention to the friction between expanding urban areas and oil and gas development.
The deadly accident in April is leading to a discussion about whether houses should be built farther away from existing oil and gas wells.
“We are very saddened by the events in Colorado," Anadarko president and CEO Al Walker told shareholders. “We are going to work very hard to understand it better.”
Oil and gas operators must inspect existing oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings within 30 days.