Hydrofluoric acid (HF) "readily penetrates tissue, poisoning as it goes. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident, but because HF interferes with nerve function it can wreak systemic havoc, resulting in death. HF is likely still being used and stored by a refinery near you. . . . .just when you thought that the oil companies couldn't possibly put more poison into our air and water, do more damage to the earth, to our climate, to our future and our hope for survival, along comes "matrix acidizing," the oil industry's latest stroke of genius to extract oil from shale formations by literally disintegrating underground rock formations using - you guessed it, hydrofluoric acid." Read full article.
Under pressure: Increase in oil well blowouts concern regulators
Published September 02, 2013, 10:15 PM WILLISTON, N.D. – Oil well blowouts are increasing in the Bakken, prompting regulators to take action. North Dakota has had 23 blowouts in the past year, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. “That’s up significantly,” said Lynn Helms, director of the department. A blowout may be an uncontrolled flow of oil, gas, saltwater or a mixture of these. . . . .After the two significant blowouts last December, regulators approached the North Dakota Petroleum Council with concerns that some changes may need to be made to the state’s rules on well control, Helms said. Industry representatives have formed a committee to develop best practices. The committee will report back to Helms’ department, and the input may lead to rule changes. In some cases, more training or education may be required. Full article available here. Comment: after 23 blowouts regulators were concerned about the state's rules? and now "Industry representatives have formed a committee to develop best practices" ! ! !
- The image in the center above is the neighborhood of Mayflower Arkansas, where a pipeline that many residents didn't know existed ruptured and leaked crude oil that is still not cleaned up, with many residents reporting illness from fumes. Images of blowouts like the ones on the two sides are readily available when you do an internet search: such as http://www.canadianwellsite.com/Gallery/Blowouts.asp, and http://www.energyindustryphotos.com/oilfield_blowout_photos_and_rig.htm
- In Oil-Producing Regions, Even Minor Hurricanes Cause Major Environmental Damage Sunday, 25 August 2013 11:09 By Sue Sturgis, Facing South | Report "We're now approaching the peak of hurricane season, with forecasters predicting a higher-than-average number of storms this year. As many as three to five are expected to develop into Category 3 or stronger hurricanes with winds of at least 111 miles per hour. But it doesn't take a major storm to wreak environmental havoc on a coastal area -- especially one that's home to oil and gas production facilities. A report released this month by the Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) looked at the environmental damage reported after Hurricane Isaac, a relatively mild Category 1 storm that made landfill in Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi River on Aug. 28, 2012. GMC members -- Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, SkyTruth, SouthWings, and the Waterkeeper Alliance's Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper program -- collect, analyze and publish information on oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. 'http://truth-out.org/news/item/18386-in-oil-producing-regions-even-minor-hurricanes-cause-major-environmental-damageWe all knew this hurricane was coming -- it wasn't a surprise,' said Meredith Dowling, SouthWings' Gulf program director. 'Yet during post-storm overflights our volunteer pilots saw sheen on the floodwaters near refineries.' A total of 130 accidents resulting from the storm were reported to the National Response Center, the federal office that collects information on oil and chemical spills in U.S. waters. Those accidents dumped at least 12.9 million gallons of pollutants and contaminated water and 192 tons of gases into the environment, according to the facilities' own self-reported data. Among the chemicals released were known neurotoxins and carcinogens including crude oil and benzene."
- THURSDAY MAY 31, 2012 12:56 PM
Fracking Fatalities: Organized Labor Implores Federal Agencies to Stop the Killings BY MIKE ELK (http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/13286/fracking/) "In a letter sent last week, the AFL-CIO, the United Steelworkers union and the United Mine Workers complain that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are not doing enough to regulate the potential hazards that harm fracking workers.
“A strong effort by the federal safety and health agencies is needed to work with the industry and involve unions to ensure that these controls are properly implemented as employment in this industry sector rapidly grows,” the unions and the labor federation wrote.
According to one study by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers in the oil and natural gas industries are seven times as likely to die on the job as workers in other industries. The three most common types of fatal accidents that those working for well-servicing companies fall victim to are motor vehicle accidents (29 percent), being struck by objects (20 percent), and explosions (8 percent).
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death among oil and gas industry workers in part because of an exemption from federal highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries. In March 2011, National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation asking the federal agency to end this exemption. Last December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declined, saying the exemption had already “been in place for nearly 50 years."
Other oil and gas industry trucks crash due to poor maintenance. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, 40 percent of 2,200 oil and gas industry trucks inspected between 2009 and February 2012 had to be removed from the road because they were too unsafe to drive.
Those helping to pull oil and gas from the ground are also regularly exposed to cancer-causing silica dust. Fracking involves injecting large amounts of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break up shales and bring natural gas to the surface. A large amount of the sand used in fracking often contains silica dust. A study by NIOSH found that 47 percent of all oil and natural gas workers breath air that exceeds the safe breathing limits for silica dust."
- http://conserveland.org//violationsrpt The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has reviewed environmental violations accrued by Marcellus Shale drillers working in Pennsylvania between January 2008 and August 20, 2010. Since this report was first published, additional information has been received from the Department of Environmental Protection and report has now been updated. DEP records show a total of 1614 violations of state Oil and Gas Laws due to gas drilling or other earth disturbance activities related to natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale in this 2.5-year period. The Association identified 1056 violations as having or likely to have an impact on the environment.
- http://pennenvironmentcenter.org/sites/environment/files/reports/Risky%20Business%20Violations%20Report_0.pdf Using records obtained by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center identified a total of 3,355 violations of environmental laws by 64 different Marcellus Shale gas drilling companies between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. Of these violations, the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center identified 2,392 violations that likely posed a direct threat to our environment and were not reporting or paperwork violations.
- http://www.zurichna.com/internet/zna/SiteCollectionDocuments/en/media/whitepapers/Shale_Gas_WP_FINAL.pdf is a White Paper by the Zurich Insurance Company. It doesn't discuss known accidents, but in discussing risks says:
Environmental concerns for shale gas drilling include:
• Potential chemical spills causing pollution of local pond and irrigation canals
• Natural gas or fracturing chemicals seeping into the water table due to an inadequate casing cementing
• Natural gas leaching into municipal drinking water
• Inappropriate disposal of fracturing mixture
• High water volume required for shale gas fracturing "
- http://www.propublica.org/article/response-to-pa-gas-well-accident-took-13-hours-despite-state-plan-for-quick mainly discusses the length of time for the company to react, but lists the following problems in their April 26, 2011 article: "When Chesapeake Energy lost control of a Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania on April 19, an emergency response team from Texas was called in to stop the leak. By the time the team arrived more than 13 hours later, brine water and hydraulic fracturing fluids from the well had spewed across nearby fields and into a creek. The first was a blowout at an EOG Resources well in Clearfield County on June 3 -- it took the Texans 16 hours to arrive at that site. The other was a fire at a Huntley & Huntley well in Allegheny County that killed two workers on July 23 -- the emergency responders showed up 11 hours later that time. Presumably as a result of the latter two problems, a Talisman Energy well blew out in Tioga County on Jan. 17, the CUDD team had the well under control in less than four hours.
Serious Pipeline Accidents in the United States in 2013 (as of August 15th)
- 2013 An independent contractor installing fiber-optic cable for a cable company in Kansas City, Missouri inadvertently struck an underground gas line on February 19. Gas later caught fire, and created an explosion that destroyed a popular local restaurant, killing one of the workers there, and injuring about 15 others near the scene.
- 2013 A tug towing a barge struck and ruptured a Chevron LPG pipeline near Bayou Perot, Louisianan on March 12. The tug Captain was severely burned when the escaping gas ignited, and died several weeks later from those injuries.
- 2013 On March 18, a Chevron 8 inch petroleum products pipeline ruptured along a seam, spilling diesel fuel into Willard Bay State Park near Ogden, Utah. Wildlife was coated with diesel, but, the fuel was prevented from entering into water supply intakes. About 25,000 gallons of diesel were spilled.
- 2013 A Williams Companies 24 inch gas gathering pipeline failed in Marshall County, West Virginia on March 22. There were no injuries.
- 2013 Mayflower oil spill occurred when ExxonMobil's 20 inch Pegasus crude oil pipeline spilled near Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29, causing crude to flow through yards and gutters, and towards Lake Conway. Wildlife was coated in some places. Twenty-two homes were evacuated, due to the fumes and fire hazard. Some estimates say the total amount spilled could reach upwards of 300,000 gallons diluted bitumen were spilled. Hook cracks and extremely low impact toughness in the LF-ERW seam were identified as causes of the failure.
- 2013 On April 4, an explosion and fire occurred at a gas compressor station near Guthrie, Oklahoma. Nearby homes were evacuated. There were no injuries reported.
- 2013 A flash fire at a pipeline gas compressor station broke out when natural gas liquids ignited in Tyler County, West Virginia on April 11, seriously burning 3 workers, two of whom later died. The workers were performing pipeline pigging operations.
- 2013 On April 30, the Pegasus oil pipeline spilled a small amount of crude into a residential yard in Ripley County, Missouri, a month after the same pipe spewed thousands of barrels of crude in Arkansas. The Pegasus pipeline was out of service from the Mayflower, Arkansas spill, accounting for the minimal amount of oil spilled in Missouri. 
- 2013 On May 9, diesel fuel was detected to be leaking from a Marathon pipeline in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over 20,000 gallons of diesel leaked, at a slow rate that was not detected by SCADA systems. Cleanup cause a nearby major road to be shut down for 5 days. There were no injuries reported.
- 2013 Late night on May 14, an explosion & fire hit a Williams Companies gas compressor station near Brooklyn Township, Pennsylvania. There were no reported injuries.
- 2013 On May 30, 2 construction workers were injured, when a fire erupted during welding at a Williams Companies natural gas facility in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
- 2013 A 12 inch gas transmission pipeline failed near Torrington, Wyoming on June 13. LF-ERW seam failure was suspected as cause. There was no fire or injuries.
- 2013 A 30 inch Florida Gas Transmission Company natural gas pipeline exploded and burned on June 18 near Franklinton, Louisiana. Power lines were damaged, causing a loss of electricity to 17,000 people, and a trailer was destroyed. There was no injuries reported.
- 2013 On July 4, a fire involved a gas compressor and a nearby ruptured 2 inch gas pipeline in Gilmore Township, Pennsylvania. There were no injuries.
- 2013 An 8 inch natural gas pipeline released gas from a rupture at 1,400 psi, for 90 minutes in New Franklin, Ohio on July 22, forcing 75 people to evacuate the area. Afterward, the local Fire Chief said that pipeline owners refused to give information to first responders in previous requests.
- 2013 Early on July 23, a downed 13,000 volt power line sparked a massive gas fire in Mamaroneck, New York when a gas main was damaged by the electricity. 3 automobiles were destroyed, and homes were threatened for a time.
- 2013 On July 26, a leaking BP 20 inch crude oil pipeline spilled 50 to 100 barrels of crude oil in Washington County, Oklahoma. Some of the crude spilled into a drainage ditch leading to a water reservoir.
- 2013 on the evening of August 12, a 10 inch NGL pipeline exploded & caused a massive propane-ethane mix fire in Erie, Illinois. A number of nearby residents were evacuated for a while, but, there were no injuries.
- 2013 A leak developed on a valve on Longhorn Pipeline in Austin, Texas during maintenance on August 14, spilling about 300 gallons of crude oil. There were no evacuations.
Massive Sinkhole Disaster in Louisiana, December 2012