Denbury cleaning up in Amite County

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — Denbury Resources’ Health, Safety and Environmental Manager Randy Robichaux said the cause of a mid-December “well control incident,” at their Amite County plant is still undetermined.

On Dec. 16, something in one of the company’s wells broke free, causing oil, water and carbon dioxide to spray from the ground.

Robichaux said the event was not an explosion.

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While four to five homes near the rural plant were evacuated, Robichaux said they were not in any danger and were evacuated only as a precaution.

The incident did, however, make quite a mess.

Robichaux said the oily spray saturated the ground surrounding the wellhead and had to be removed.

The result, 7,000 tons of oily earth had to be disposed of.

In May, Denbury hopes to complete construction of a plant in the Cranfield area of Adams County.

Denbury specializes in secondary oil recovery.

They pump carbon dioxide into the ground to retrieve oil that traditional pumping has left behind.

The incident on Dec. 16, showed the Denbury process in reverse.

Robichaux said this is the first such incident of its kind in any of Denbury’s South Mississippi plants.

“This is not the beginning of a pattern forming,” he said. “We want to find out what caused the problem so that it can be fixed.”

On the day of the accident, and subsequently, Robichaux has met with the Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency and county officials.

“They are all satisfied with our clean up projects,” he said.

Robichaux said no agencies have discussed bringing fines against Denbury for their role in the accident.