UPDATE Russia had an H2S leak at their refinery on 11/10/14…heres two photos..
Nov 2014 In revisiting a 1975 deadly H2S accident two things became more clear….
1) It was not in Denver Colorado, but Denver City TX which is over 300 miles west of Arlington TX and
2) I am realizing that the “waste gas” referenced below was H2S and they were INJECTING it to stimulate the oil well…“This particular operation had hydrogen sulfide being injected into the well to recover more oil, which added to the natural concentration of the toxic fumes, the Avalanche-Journal reported in 1975.”
In a book you can buy called “Shale Gas Production Processes” by James G Speight, he says… “The Barnett Shale resource play of North Texas, for examle, contains several hundred parts per million (ppm v/v) of hydrogen sulfide and much higher amounts of carbon dioxide (in the percent v/v range).”
I have blogged about H2S in the past….https://barnettshalehell.wordpress.com/?s=h2s
Ohiogasdrilling.files.wordpress re-posted a pdf file from the Houston Chronicle ……. I boldfaced for emphasis ….
Ohio’s Lack of Regulation of Hydrogen Sulfide- Risk Assessment
“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality limits H2S emissions in residential and commercial areas to 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to protect the public. At 100 ppm of H2S, one breath will kill a person instantly. Even much less concentrations will cause severe sickness.” Texas A&M Engineer, C. Morgan for POGCO Death came from a cloud / A silent killer took 9 lives in 1975. Could it happen again? JIM MORRIS Staff SUN 11/09/1997 The Houston Chronicle, Section Special, Page 2, 2 STAR Edition DENVER CITY – Faye Bernard has preserved the note, scribbled in the looping cursive of a teen-age girl.
“Moma [sic]: I’m gonna spend the night with Dee Dee,” it reads. “Love, Clara.”
This brief and, as it turned out, heartbreaking missive was written on Saturday, Feb. 1, 1975, by 14-year-old Clara Peevy. She was letting her mother, Faye, know that she’d be staying with a friend, Dee Dee Patton, at the Patton home. The girls, whose budding social lives revolved around the Assembly of God church, were in high spirits. There had been a revival in the West Texas town all week, and 17-year-old Dee Dee had sung If That Isn’t Love on Saturday evening. “It sounded so pretty,” Bernard, 72, said recently. “It was about the prettiest she’d ever sung.” By 5:15 a.m. Sunday, Clara Peevy, Dee Dee Patton, her parents and four relatives who had spent the night with them were dead, victims of hydrogen sulfide that leaked from Arco’s Willard Unit Well No. 66, about 200 feet behind the house. A neighbor, Tom Merrill, had called to warn them that a chemical cloud had sickened his wife and might be moving their way. Still groggy in the darkness, they had suffocated seconds after rushing outside on a chilly, damp and nearly windless morning. Five bodies – including Clara’s – were found in a car, two in a pickup truck and one on the ground. A ninth victim – 19-year-old Arco employee Steve Sparger, who was responding to the leak – was found in his pickup. The position of the truck in a ditch along County Road 330 suggested that Sparger had driven into the cloud and was trying to turn around when he died. Almost 23 years after Texas’ worst hydrogen sulfide accident, all that remains of the Patton house is a cracked concrete slab. There is no memorial, no indication of any sort that lives were lost on this spot three miles north of Denver City, although the “Christmas tree” structure of Well No. 66 remains. Fleta Taylor, 70, lives about a mile from the well, as she did in 1975. She and her husband, Ben, were spared the effects of the gas, although he died of a heart attack three weeks later. Taylor said that the Patton family seemed oblivious – as did most other people – to the sour gas wells (those containing at least 100 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide) that had been drilled all over Yoakum County. Merrill, who barely got his wife and two children out of their home, told Taylor after the accident that “he could hear the Pattons crying out. Of course, they didn’t last long.” Melvin Reed, 65, was one of the volunteer firefighters on the scene. “I can still see it like it was yesterday,” he said. A crowd of onlookers – among them several timid rescue workers – had formed by the time the firefighters arrived at about 5:30 a.m, Reed said. The gas cloud was nearly stationary, rolling ever so slightly to the south.Ohio’s Lack of Regulation of Hydrogen Sulfide- Risk Assessment “Steve Sparger was one of our big football players,” said Bowman, who was teaching 11th-grade history at Denver City High School in 1975. “He was the starting fullback. He was a big, nice, likable young man.” Sparger graduated in May 1973 and, as was typical in Denver City, went straight to the oil fields. He was hired as a “computer observer” by Arco and had been married only 15 months when he died. The two investigating agencies came down hard on Arco. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for, among other things, failing to provide Sparger with respiratory protection and adequate training. The Railroad Commission found that Arco’s safety equipment at the well was not sensitive to small leaks and that the company had no written emergency plan. A black-and-white photograph in the Feb. 6, 1975, edition of the Denver City Press shows the upshot of these lapses: A living room left in disarray by the Pattons and their house guests. Two pairs of eyeglasses lie on a table in the foreground. In the background are a recliner – in its horizontal position, as if someone had been sleeping on it – and a cot covered with rumpled sheets. By the winter of 1975, oil field workers had known for decades about “rotten-egg” gas, how it could smother you in a few breaths if the concentration was high enough, how it could make you do crazy things – things a raging drunk might do – if it didn’t kill you. To the public, however, hydrogen sulfide had seemed to pose no real threat until the “white hell” (as the Press depicted the cloud) claimed nine lives in the little town just east of the New Mexico line. It was national news, an oddity amid a numbing succession of car wrecks, plane crashes and similarly mundane disasters. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the biggest daily newspaper in the area, covered the story with particular vigor, to the great irritation of Press publisher Gene Snyder. “They had a front-page story every day for a month after it happened,” said Snyder, 68, who still runs the paper. “They kept it alive, and we were trying to forget.” The story’s prominence served at least one purpose: it forced the Railroad Commission to re-examine and ultimately tighten its Rule 36, which deals with the handling of hydrogen sulfide. Drillers and producers of sour gas wells were ordered to calculate worst-case releases, plan for emergencies and warn the public. Special conditions were placed on enhanced-recovery wells, like Arco’s No. 66, into which waste gas is reinjected to force out hard-to-capture oil. “Twenty-two years ago, you didn’t see no signs around saying ‘Poison gas,'” said Faye Bernard’s husband, Roy, whom she married after her first husband, Burl Peevy, died in 1989. Today, Denver City is teeming with such signs, some of which can be found on the lawns of nice homes in the center of town. The signs are so plentiful, in fact, that it’s easy to see how one might come to ignore them, to grow complacent about the naturally occurring chemical that contaminates oil and gas in the Wasson Field. “This whole county, they don’t want to talk about this stuff,” Melvin Reed said. In a 1993 report to Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified 14 “major H2S-prone areas” in 20 states. Four of these areas are in Texas. From 1975 through 1996, 208 hydrogen sulfide incidents – significant releases from wells or pipelines that caused, or could have caused, death or injury – were reported to the Texas Railroad Commission.”