Residents in Lochbuie and Brighton reported a loud boom around 9pm last Monday, November 20. Police departments in both municipalities received reports of a loud explosion. The Brighton fire department was dispatched to a local home around 11pm, but found no signs of an explosion, just a lot of residents milling about and wondering about the sound. There were no reports of damage by property managers Brighton and the firefighters eventually left the scene.
On Wednesday, November 22 officials from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) issued a press release stating an “overpressuring event” occurred in an empty oil storage tank near the area where the boom was reported. The lid of the oil tank was forced off which resulted in the explosion-like sound. The officials stated that the tank functioned properly and released the pressure without causing any fire, spill, explosion or injury to property managers Brighton or others elsewhere.
The owner of the storage tank, Ward Petroleum, an oil and gas production company with operations in Colorado and Oklahoma, filed an accident report with the COGCC on November 22. The accident report mentioned the overpressurization of a new and empty 538 barrel storage tank. According to the Denver Post, Ward Petroleum “confirmed at a newly commissioned oil and gas production site that a malfunction of a production vessel led to an over-pressurization of a new and empty … storage tank, which resulted in the lid of the tank being compromised.” The COGCC will be following up the report with an investigation to further understand how the event occurred.
According to its website, the COGCC is “charged with fostering the responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources.”
Ward Petroleum, a company originating out of Oklahoma, has an office in Fort Collins, Colorado. Its Colorado operations focus on one of the country’s biggest natural gas deposits known as the Wattenberg Gas Field.
Lochbuie has a population of just over 5000 and is situated to the northeast of Brighton in Weld and Adams counties.