Jay-Bee Oil Cited For Tyler County Explosion

MIDDLEBOURNE – West Virginia regulators cited Jay-Bee Oil & Gas for creating an “imminent danger that a fresh water source or supply will be contaminated or lost” in the aftermath of the Tyler County natural gas drilling tank explosion last week.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas issued the violation to the Cairo, W.Va.-based driller for flooding the area around the Lisby pad, roughly 6 miles southeast of Middlebourne. The tank blast last week allowed what nearby resident Teresa Jackson referred to as “black sludge” to flood the area near the well pad along Big Run Road.

Jay-Bee must abate all of the pollution and submit a report to the DEP by Tuesday. In the report, the company must demonstrate its ability to safely resume operations, as well as an understanding of what caused the rupture. The report also must include prevention measures to avoid similar problems. Jay-Bee must also submit proposals for soil and surface water sampling and a remediation plan. The company also is required to submit to the state a best management practices plan for flow-back tank systems at all of its operations in West Virginia.

In addition to the citation, regulators have suspended the company from operating at the Lisby pad. DEP Records show Jay-Bee had two other violations in Tyler County in June, one involving water withdrawl. The company resolved both of these matters.

Jay-Bee spokeswoman Danielle Butler said Wednesday the company is “doing what we need to do.”

DEP spokesman Thomas Aluise said the blast occurred late Thursday, injuring one Baker Hughes employee who was on site during fracking operations at the well. He said investigators suspect vapors formed from the fluids inside the tank and were somehow ignited, possibly by static electricity.

The ignition and blast dislodged a large tank from its foundation, noting about 50 barrels of fluid were in the tank at the time. Most of the fluid remained in a dike area of the tanks and inspectors found no fluids in the nearby stream.