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Neighbor acts to stop small oil-well fire
FLORESVILLE -- South Central Texas’ recent bouts with freezing temperatures are being eyed as a likely cause of a small fire that ignited Feb. 2 at an Everest Resource Co. drilling site near the corner of S.H. 97 and F.M. 1344 here.
Wilson County Pct. 2 Commissioner Paul Pfeil said that a nearby landowner noticed the fire just before 6 p.m. and called Everest’s emergency telephone number. Everest instructed him to shut a valve and the fire subsequently went out.
Texas Railroad Commission spokesman Ramona Nye said the ignition occurred when crude oil was released from the flare stack. The operator has been instructed to clean up the area impacted by the oil release and an inspection was scheduled to occur before Feb. 8.
Tuleta-based R.W. Dirks Petroleum Engineer Inc. works as Everest’s consultant at the site. Engineer Cliff Davis described the Feb. 2 incident as isolated in nature. He said that recent low temperatures caused dump valves to freeze, resulting in a spray of crude oil being released through the flare. Embers of ignited crude fell into the surrounding holding tank and soon after were extinguished.
“This is a highly unusual circumstance,” Davis said.
He also acknowledged that the mishap might have appeared more significant, due to the day’s high winds that fanned flames. The spill, Davis said, resulted in the loss of approximately five barrels of oil. Corrective measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident are ongoing.
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