Colorado officials on Tuesday reported three new flood-related oil spills since an assessment the day before (see Daily GPI, Sept. 24), bringing to 11 the number of what are designated as “notable releases” by the Colorado Oil/Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Although it had nine teams of inspectors in the field in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, a COGCC spokesperson said the teams’ work continued to be hampered by “wet and slow-going conditions.” The teams on Monday reportedly assessed 157 wells and 71 tank batteries.

Toppled tanks have been the source of numerous spills as reported by COGCC and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and some of its members.

To date, the notable releases of fuel have added up to more than 822 barrels, or 34,524 gallons, COGCC said in its Tuesday accounting. The overall volume equates to nearly three tanks of fuel, given that the typical storage tanks have a 300-bbl capacity.

The three newest spills were found at a Noble Energy site with a 121-bbl release east of Kersey, CO; at a PDC Energy Inc. location east of Greeley, CO; with a 60-bbl release; and at a Mineral Resources Inc. location northwest of LaSalle, CO., a release of unknown volume.

COGA reported at the end of the day Tuesday that there have been less than 1% of the once nearly 1,900 wells shut in that have had any isolated incidents due to debris-filled flood waters. “Operators continue to work with state and federal regulatory agencies for clean up and remediation,” a COGA spokesperson said.

Xcel Energy’s local combination utility assured its customers it has all the “people, equipment and resources” to begin its recovery work, but it still needs waters to recede, roads to reopen and public safety organizations to declare certain areas safe for its utility crews to re-enter.

“When damage has been assessed, plans for repair are deployed,” the utility spokesperson said. “In some areas we will need to not only rebuild entire sections of pipeline and install new equipment, but we may need to relocate parts of the system to more stable areas and land not affected by current or potential future floods and washouts.”