ALBANY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a report regarding the two recent natural gas rig fires in Chenango and Madison counties and the precautionary measures that will be implemented.
The primary cause of the fire in the Town of Smyrna on January 1st was a valve failure on the well head assembly that allowed gas from the target formation to leak and accumulate beneath the rig floor. While the ignition source has not been verified, the NYSDEC is attributing it to ejected rock cuttings causing a spark, a broken fluorescent light, cigarettes, an extension cord or welding equipment.
The DEC is still in the information gathering stages about the fire March 19 at the gas well in the Town of Lebanon. The fire differs from the Smyrna fire, however, in that the well was not yet drilled into the target formation. The drill pipe was being pulled from the well in preparation of setting the casing when gas flow was unexpectedly encountered at a shallower depth. The ignition source was not identified.