A leak of hazardous gas from an exploratory well in western Montrose County is causing some residents of the Paradox Valley to question the safety of the operation. Devon Energy has only one rig exploring for natural gas underground near the community of Bedrock. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reports that a hazardous percentage of hydrogen sulfide was detected at the well in December.
The commission received reports from several people complaining of eye irritation, nose bleeds, and respiratory problems. The report states that one woman required a doctor's care. A spokesman for Devon Energy says the company took care of her medical bills, but apparently Devon failed to notify the oil and gas commission as required, and therefore is being cited for an alleged violation.
The company's spokesman says Devon has since made several changes to the operation to guarantee the safety of workers and area residents. The company is also doing H–2–S training and drills for local emergency responders.
Devon Energy says it was unaware of any history of hydrogen sulfide in the area, but several local residents say they have heard stories of one H–2–S exposure nearby. No fine has been imposed on Devon Energy, but the oil and gas commission will consider this incident when making further permitting decision in the Paradox Valley.
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