Blaze damages two tanks at gas production site near Kenai

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Two 12,600-gallon tanks were engulfed by a fire that destroyed other equipment at a Marathon Oil natural gas production pad northeast of Kenai.

The blaze Tuesday night marks the second problem at the same Beaver Creek location in three weeks.

With help from company workers, 20 firefighters from Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna extinguished the blaze in several hours at Pad 1-A with thousands of gallons of water hauled to the site in tankers, Nikiski fire chief Daniel Gregory said.

"It was pretty straightforward," he said. "Nobody was hurt, and it looked like Marathon captured the runoff."

The burned tanks contained an estimated 380 barrels total of produced fluids, which is mostly water with some natural gas condensate left over from the production process, according to officials at the company's Houston headquarters, which sent specialists to the site.

Company crews were still working Thursday to stop gas from leaking from a natural gas well on the pad, according to Marathon spokeswoman Susan Richardson. The fire damaged the well housing, she said.

The danger that the gas could ignite kept state investigators from an immediate close examination of the spill or the company's equipment, according to Gary Folley, with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

"Marathon believes that the produced fluids were contained on the pad, but we'll do a detailed site assessment once we can get in there," Folley said.

The company doesn't know what caused the fire and has no damage estimate yet, Richardson said. Production from that field has been halted, but the company expects it can supply gas needs from other Kenai areas.

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