The NSW Mine Safety Investigation Unit has released a report on a 'high risk incident' at a Metgasco gas well near Casino in July this year, where more than 200m of steel drill pipes shot out of the well at high pressure. The unconventional tight gas well had been fracked in 2010.
Key quotes from the report:
"About 200 m of steel drill pipe was forcibly ejected from a gas well due to an unplanned release of gas at high pressure.
"The risk to which the workers were exposed is considered by investigators to have been very high".
"Loss of integrity in the well meant that gas under pressure could migrate between the inside and outside of the casing."
"The workers report running away from the workover rig towards safe muster points and in doing so saw sparks and a brief ignition of gas above the rig as the last of the pipes ejected from the well."
"One of the drill pipes was ejected over the drill pad fence into the neighbouring paddock."
"This accident exposes the severe risks to workers, adjoining properties, and the environment from unconventional gas mining" said Carmel Flint, spokesperson with Lock The Gate Alliance.
"It highlights just how important it is to have a large exclusion zone between gas wells and residential dwellings.
"The failure in integrity of this gas well, after only such a short time in operation, raises the spectre of massive problems in the future if thousands of gas wells are approved across the countryside.
"This incident highlights just how foolish and dangerous it is for our governments to allow this industry to expand unfettered across closely settled areas, important farmlands and sensitive environments.
"NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell needs to rise above the 'drill at all costs' mentality of Federal Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, and get on with the job of protecting the people and communities of NSW" she said.