Echonetdaily 14 August 2013:
The recent dismantling of a coal seam gas (CSG) well adjacent to Casino airport could have been lethal after the explosive ejection of broken drill rods and methane into the air, it was claimed this week.
Mining company Metgasco says no-one was hurt during the well’s decommissioning late on Sunday, July 14, as safety equipment installed on the well to cope with such events had worked.
But Nimbin Environment Centre secretary Alan Roberts said the ‘explosion’ and loud noise as gas burst out under high pressure had alarmed surrounding residents, including those staying at a nearby motor-home park.
Mr Roberts, who is part of a group monitoring the decommissioning of 19 Metgasco CSG wells in the northern rivers, said that during the decommissioning of the well, ‘200 metres of drill rod and milling tool were ejected explosively’.
He said that a Metgasco official, when asked about the incident at the time, told him it was ‘normal to circulate some gas to the mud degasser in the process of killing the well’ and that he could ‘rest assured the well is now dead’ and workmen would ‘soon be running in to commence the abandonment operations’.
But Mr Roberts said, ‘Metgasco may consider it normal, but the well certainly did not, as it shot broken drill rods, methane and liquids skyward in the process of dying’…..