Gas venting out of control at GarCo well

Some Silt-area residents notified they may have to evacuate homes

SILT — Natural gas continued to shoot from an out-of-control well Tuesday evening southwest of Silt, but area residents who had been put on evacuation notice earlier in the day hadn’t been asked to leave their homes.
Two of those residents are Nanci and Paul Limbach, who were moving back into their home Tuesday, a year and a half after being forced out by another incident related to oil and gas development. Nanci Limbach also runs a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center near the well.
Workers lost control of the Antero Resources well at about 12:10 p.m., said Kevin Kilstrom, vice president of production for the Denver-based company.
The well is in a rural area off Garfield County Road 346. Kilstrom didn’t know how many residents faced possible evacuation.
Emergency crews monitored gas levels in the vicinity and deemed them safe for residents as of Tuesday.
Nanci Limbach worried about what to do with her animals in the case of an evacuation. Her birds would be most sensitive to the gas, she said.
“It definitely smells and burns your throat,” she said.

Kilstrom said Antero sent someone to speak to the Limbachs and test for gas on their property.

A year and a half ago, heavy equipment being hauled by a drilling contractor clipped a power line, sending high voltage into the Limbachs’ home. That incident heavily damaged wiring and electronic equipment in the home, forcing them to move out while it was repaired.

Kilstrom said Tuesday’s incident occurred as a workover rig was being used to finish completion work on the well, just before it was to be put into production. He said the cause of the incident wasn’t immediately known. No fire occurred in connection with the incident.

A specialized well-control team was headed to the scene Tuesday night.

“We want to try to kill the well by pumping liquid into it — (drilling) mud,” Kilstrom said.

He said the hope was that the venting of the gas would die down enough to let workers safely approach the well to try to kill it.

Kilstrom expressed relief that no one was injured in the incident. He said the environmental impact should be minimal because methane gas floats into the atmosphere. Some liquid spilled at the well site but was contained inside a berm, he said.

Limbach worried about the possibility of being displaced again, just when she and her husband were supposed to host a get-together upon returning home.

“We have Thanksgiving company coming (today),” she said.


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