A fire that started late Monday evening at a WPX oil production site in San Juan County, New Mexico, is lessening in strength early Tuesday morning.
More than 50 emergency responders and WPX personnel are involved in the response effort that has kept the fire contained on the company’s five-acre site where six new oil wells and more than 30 temporary oil storage tanks are located.
No injuries or damage to adjacent property has been reported. State police have restricted traffic in the area as a precautionary measure to help protect a half-mile perimeter around the fire, but no road closures have occurred.
The site is located about two miles south of Nageezi, N.M., near the intersection of County Road 7890 and State Highway 550. The company has provided lodging to three families who were displaced by the fire.
All operations at the site remain shut-in. The company has stopped the oil wells from pumping and closed valves to pipes that were transferring oil to the storage tanks.
Officials expect the fire to burn out over the next few hours. This approach was the safest way to protect fire fighters from the intensity of the heat and to limit the possibility of oil spreading off-site.
Public services from San Juan County, Sandoval County, Farmington, the New Mexico State Police and the Navajo Nation have been instrumental in the response.
The cause of the incident is not known at this time. An investigation will commence once the fire is completely out.
Initial reports about a drilling rig explosion at the site were erroneous. No drilling activity was taking place at the site prior to the storage tanks catching on fire.
Drilling on the new wells actually ended in early May. The wells were completed in June and began producing oil during the first week of July.
The company will provide further information as it becomes available. Media inquiries can be directed to Kelly Swan at (918) 629-1037.