Gas well fire is out, rig a total loss |

Gas well fire is out, rig a total loss

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RULISON, Colo. ” A fire that burned at a drilling rig in western Colorado for most of the day Wednesday was brought under control late in the afternoon.

Donna Gray, a spokeswoman for Williams Production RMT, said the fire at the drilling rig south of the Colorado River and just east of Rulison was extinguished about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday. The fire erupted at the drilling site about 1:30 a.m.

There were no injuries, and the fire was contained to the wellpad. Fire crews from the Rifle Fire Protection District and the Grand Valley Fire Protection District responded, along with officials from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office

Williams Production controls the gas field where the fire occurred, and contracts drilling of the area to Cyclone Drilling.

Crews at the scene extinguished the fire by attaching a pipe at the wellpad that directed the natural gas away from the rig, Gray said. The fire department then used high-pressure water hoses to knock down the flames, she said.

Williams is investigating the cause of the fire, Gray said. Crews were drilling at about 6,800 feet into a “gas-bearing zone” when the fire erupted.

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Gray said Williams has had several training sessions with the Grand Valley and Rifle fire protection districts about possible threats wildland fires could pose to drilling rigs. That training paid off Wednesday, Gray said.

“We really had tremendous cooperation with the two fire departments,” said Gray, adding fire crews from both agencies stayed at the scene during the entire fire. “They were just stellar.”

Gray said Williams is going to try to salvage the charred well. However, the drilling rig consumed by the blaze is a complete loss, she said.