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East Cheyenne Gas Storage Leak Prompts Colorado Evacuations

Midstream Energy Holdings LLC employees and contractors were expected to be on site all weekend to respond to a well-control incident at East Cheyenne Gas Storage, an underground natural gas storage facility near Peetz, CO, in Logan County.

On Thursday afternoon contractors were working on one of 16 wells on the site that are used to inject and withdraw natural gas into and out of the underground storage facility. A safety device failed and as a result, natural gas from the single affected well is escaping into the atmosphere, spokesman Paul Raab told NGI.

The storage facility has been in service since late 2011 and is considered to be the newest gas storage facility in the western United States, able to provide up to 19 Bcf of capacity, according to Midstream Energy.

“Well-control contractors were on-site by Thursday night to shut in the well and stop the flow of gas,” he said. The team continued to assess the situation Friday afternoon and had begun preparing the site for well-control operations, including improving access to the site and depowering the well pad. Cranes, water tanks, trucks and other equipment were staged nearby.

Contractors were expected to work through the Memorial Day weekend and planned to monitor well conditions and perimeter barriers fulltime until the well is shut in, Raab said.

In the meantime, to keep the public safe, Logan County emergency responders were maintaining a perimeter around the facility, he said. East Cheyenne plans to reimburse evacuated homeowners for their expenses.

First responders did not say how many people had been evacuated. Local, state and federal authorities had been notified, including the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the U.S. National Response Center. The Logan County Emergency Management Department is managing the onsite response.

Midstream Energy in December said East Cheyenne had reached an operational milestone, hitting a peak withdrawal record of 180,000 Dth/d, with additional capacity available to support more withdrawals.

Midstream Energy said East Cheyenne Gas Storage "is the only independent gas storage field in the Front Range and has been designed and built to offer services to utilities, power generators, pipelines, producers and marketers that require storage to meet gas demand peaks, mitigate gas price volatility, gas supply/demand variability and long-haul pipeline throughput."

The interstate storage facility provides seasonal, daily and intraday load management to the Cheyenne Hub and interstate pipelines serving markets throughout the Front Range, West and Midwest regions.

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