Conditions on Thursday morning at the WPX oil production site in San Juan County, NM, remain relatively unchanged from overnight. Small fires remain inside 4 of the 36 temporary storage tanks.
All operations at the site remain shut-in. The company stopped the six wells from pumping and closed valves to pipes that were transferring oil to the storage tanks after the fire began.
This course of action is expected to continue for the foreseeable future until an incident investigation takes place, damaged equipment can be removed, and new equipment can be secured and installed.
Precautions around the site including a restricted perimeter and the county’s incident command structure remain in place in the interest of public safety.
In terms of next steps, WPX has:
- Started a preliminary incident investigation. This work comprises collecting information from individuals who were working on-site prior to the fire. A full investigation cannot begin until it is safe to re-enter the site. The investigative process ultimately may take weeks to complete.
- Scheduled another meeting with affected residents and families who are living near the site and currently staying in lodging provided by WPX. This provision will continue until fire officials deem it is safe for residents to officially return home.
- In the interest of transparency, enlisted the support of a third-party firm to assist the company with ongoing air monitoring and sampling to help document the data and results. The EPA also is conducting their own air monitoring and sampling.
Company and fire officials will continue to actively assess the situation in order to bring the event to a safe and timely conclusion.
Media inquiries can be directed to Kelly Swan at (918) 629-1037. The company plans to issue another update after the fire is out — or earlier if conditions warrant.