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Colo. regulator approves stricter rules for oil, gas lines after 2017 explosion

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Colo. regulator approves stricter rules for oil, gas lines after 2017 explosion

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved stricter rules for oil and gas flowlines in the state, nearly a year after an explosion in the town of Firestone that killed two people and injured one.

The commission unanimously voted to approve the updated regulations. The new rules include established standards for designing and installing flowlines and setting up a flowline integrity management program, as well as clarifications on pipeline abandonment. The commission also changed registration requirements to gather more information on specific types of lines. Flowlines are defined as pipe segments carrying oil, gas or condensate from the wellhead and a point of delivery to a gathering line.

Some of the new rules include requirements for more detailed tracking for flowlines carrying fluids away from a specific oil and gas location and more detailed requirements for flowline integrity demonstration. Flowlines that are not in use, but not abandoned, are now also required to be locked and marked.

"We believe these new rules are another important step in the aftermath of the Firestone tragedy," Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a Feb. 13 news release. "State government and local municipalities depend on the commitment that industry is doing everything to keep our communities safe."

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. shut in approximately 3,000 wells after the deadly explosion and fire at a home close to a vertical well in Firestone in April 2017.