Dalby well blow out sent gas 90m in air: landholder

James Nason, 23/05/2011

The leaking gas well pictured on Monday morning. Picture: BSAUPDATE:

Arrow Energy has this afternoon advised that it has successfully stemmed the flow of water and gas from a leaking well on the property of Tom O'Connor on its Daandine field.

A statement from Arrow said the well had been capped and secured.

Arrow said it had commenced an investigation into the cause of the incident which is expected to take approximately a fortnight.

Arrow said it would also assist in any Government review of the incident. In addition, and would ensure that a summary of its investigation will be shared with stakeholders "to
ensure  a better understanding of the incident and measures in place which aim to prevent the risk of re-occurrence."


Earlier, the property owner at the centre of the Coal Seam Gas well blowout told the leak was causing gas and CSG water to shoot 40 metres into the air.

Tom O’Connor runs an irrigated and dryland grain and cattle growing operation, including a feedlot, at Daandine west of Dalby.

He said Arrow Energy had constructed 12 gas wells on his property since 2006, and this was the fourth time a gas well incident had occurred on his property. None had been of this scale though. 

He said the incident occurred when contractors were trying to bring a CSG well into production.

“The pressure beat them and blew the top off it, and gas and salty water has been going in the air since 9am yesterday morning.”

“I didn’t see it at the start but they tell me it was going 80 to 90 metres in the air.”

The blowout occurred on cleared grazing country that was recently cutter-barred. An exclusion zone had been established around the area, and he had not been able to get close enough to see where the water was going or how large an area it had covered.

Saline water can render agricultural country unproductive.

“It is still going on, they have had a few attempts to stop it,” Mr O'Connor said at 10:30am.

Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown was at the scene and Mr O'Connor said the premier Anna Bligh had also been calling “every hour” to stay abreast of the situation.

“The priority is getting it stopped. They have all trucks and rigs trying to stop it, they have had three or four goes but I think the pressure is beating them.

“They are talking about changing pumps and hoses to try and stop it.

“They have got health and safety here, they have got ambulances here, they just have to stop it somehow.”

Mr O’Connor said this was the fourth incident involving a gas leak from a CSG well on his property, but none had been on this scale.

“We have had lots of incidents with Arrow Energy, don’t start me,” he said.

He had also previously been involved in a court action against Arrow Energy involving a dispute over the placement of a pipeline on his property. 

Mr O'Connor expressed frustration at the apparent lack of regulatory controls over the industry and protections for landholders. 

“It is up to the Government to make sure they do it properly. I run cattle and grow crops. This is not my job to be talking to the media and working out how to fix a gas and water leak.

“It is not my job to make sure they are doing it right, it is the Government’s job, and this industry is about to explode all over Queensland.”

Basin Sustainability Alliance chairman Ian Haylor told the incident reinforced the BSA’s view that the coal seam gas industry was beyond the control of State and Federal regulators.

“There are no Government standards for drilling gas wells in Queensland, which is hard to believe,” he said.

“Apparently they are being developed, but it is another case of everything being done too late.”

“It just shows a total lack of care and consideration of the gas industry

“This farmer has had a number of incidents on his property, leaking gas wells, fittings blowing off, a pipeline that had a mixture of gas in it.

“As far as this goes, there is obviously a serious lack of safety standards in this process.”

Arrow Energy is currently conducting CSG community consultation sessions with landholders around southern Queensland and will hold its next session at Cecil Plains on Wednesday. 


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