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E&B Natural Resources Management

ebresources.com

Founded Year

1972

About E&B Natural Resources Management

E&B Natural Resources Management is an oil and gas exploration and production company.

Headquarters Location

Bakersfield, California, 93301,

United States

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Latest E&B Natural Resources Management News

Safety concerns preceded oil well blowout

Dec 11, 2022

BY JOHN COXjcox@bakersfield.com John Cox / The Californian The idle oil well that blew out Dec. 2 north of California Avenue, badly injuring a Bakersfield oil field worker, twice prompted safety concerns earlier this year — first as part of a cluster of bores whose elevated pressure readings led to an emergency work order in May, then again after a rupture boomed at the site in June. State regulators warned the well's owner in April about excessive pressure at seven of its facilities in the Fruitvale Oil Field, later characterizing them as presenting "an immediate danger to the surrounding area," including homes, parks, commercial centers and an elementary school. Bakersfield-based owner E&B Natural Resources Management Corp. resisted the state order to cap the well, telling regulators it was addressing the situation and intended to reactivate the facility after idling it in September 2015. The company later agreed to permanently plug it and the others. Remedial work was underway at the well, located just west of Easton Drive in a dirt lot behind a police training facility, when authorities say a sudden release of high pressure at about 8:30 a.m. hurtled Leonardo Andrade, an employee of Bakersfield oil field contractor MMI Services Inc. Andrade's wife has said he suffered internal bleeding and severe leg injuries. Cal/OSHA has since opened investigations of the two companies, both of which were the target of fines by the agency last year for alleged safety problems after separate oil field accidents. The penalties remain under appeal. Little investigation was done after a smaller accident at the same well shortly before 8 a.m. on June 24. According to the Bakersfield Police Department, at least two callers reported a loud bang, with one telling of light smoke at the lot. Responders with the Bakersfield Fire Department concluded the boom resulted from a "mechanical malfunction" in which a pressurized rubber line running from an oil rig at the site suddenly burst. No one was reported hurt. The agency said it did not know what company was performing the natural gas release at the well. The well had been included in E&B's state-mandated plan for managing and capping idle wells. The company told regulators last spring it plugged wells it owns in the same oil field in 2019 and 2021, and that it was planning to properly abandon two more by the end of this year. E&B said in a statement Friday the well has been secured and it is working closely with regulators investigating the accident. It noted the inquiry continues "and it would be inappropriate to make further comments at this time." MMI did not respond to a request for comment. Scrutiny of the well originated with a state inspection Feb. 23 that found elevated pressure at a different E&B well in the same area. State records show the well was depressurized but that pressure rose again shortly after, leading to tests of several of the company's wells in the Fruitvale field. Seven were found to have high pressure, according to the state; all had been idled between 2011 and 2016. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk signed an emergency order May 16 noting eight E&B facilities in the oil field, one a wastewater disposal well, were located in an "environmentally sensitive area." Ntuk called for all of them to be capped to prevent damage to life, health, property and natural resources while his agency, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, worked to determine the cause of the excessive pressure. Meanwhile, E&B was to depressurize the wells by removing gas into a container, regularly monitor pressure readings, routinely inspect the facilities for leaks, and immediately install blowout prevention and related equipment. It was unclear whether all the changes had been made at the well that blew out this month. CalGEM concluded the well found to have been highly pressurized in February was being charged from a permeable zone, likely the target production zone it was drilled to tap. It noted the well was not equipped with a safety device for preventing the release of pressurized gas in case its existing containment failed. The agency said it was unsure why the different wells were giving elevated pressure readings but that "it is possible that portions of the production casings are not isolated from gaseous formations located above the target production intervals." Ntuk's order said E&B told CalGEM that the company was not planning to return the 73-year-old well to production. But the company disputed that assertion in its May 27 appeal, which said none of the wells at issue in the order had been deserted, and that E&B was actively engaged in the operation of the wells. The appeal letter said the company was surprised to receive the emergency order, having worked with CalGEM to resolve the well over-pressurizations. It insisted it was monitoring the wells daily "for any operational issues or anomalies." The letter noted the well that later blew out, known as the Kernland-5 well, was the only one of the wells of concern to the agency that did not have a pumping unit attached. E&B also pointed out in the appeal that it had abandoned old oil field facilities nearby to accommodate construction of the Centennial Corridor project. As part of that, the company said, it installed a temporary pipeline "to ensure continued safety, communication and integrity with all of" its wells in the area. E&B said it was waiting for the city of Bakersfield to exchange other land for building new oil field facilities but that the conveyance had been delayed by a lawsuit nearby landowners had filed against the city. After E&B dropped the appeal, CalGEM issued a permit June 28 for Kernland-5's plugging and abandonment. A spokesman for the agency said by email Friday that, prior to the blowout, E&B had installed bridge plugs in the well, pulled all rods and tubing from the site, and decommissioned and removed utilities from it. He added the company had also flushed and capped all the well's production flowlines and upgraded the wellhead and valves. E&B proposed returning to production two of the eight wells listed in the emergency order, including Kernland-5, CalGEM spokesman Don Drysdale wrote. "However, E&B ultimately decided to plug and abandon the Kernland-5 well," he stated, adding that the company has since been "responsive and cooperative throughout the process and began work right away." Within hours of the blowout, CalGEM's acting district deputy, Chris Jones, issued E&B a notice of violation that said the company must install blowout prevention and related well-control equipment at the site immediately — but not before receiving approval to proceed by Cal/OSHA. The notice called for a meeting with CalGEM before Tuesday to discuss the accident's root cause and determine corrective actions to prevent another blowout. Cal/OSHA records show the agency opened an investigation after an unspecified accident in August at E&B's Enas Water Plant off Famoso Road. Records show Cal/OSHA initiated another case against the company in May 2021 that led the agency to levy fines totaling $12,130 for six alleged, undisclosed violations in Los Angeles. Three of the charges were classified as serious. Most of the violations have been contested, including all the serious ones. The safety agency opened a case against MMI after an unidentified accident in January 2021 off Round Mountain Road. The investigation led to two initial penalties, since reduced to a single one listed at $18,000. The penalty is being contested by the company. Cal/OSHA opened a separate investigation after an accident involving MMI in April 2019 in Elk Hills. An online summary made no mention of charges or penalties but said a company employee was hospitalized after suffering a chest injury called a pulmonary contusion that occurred when he was struck by derrick hoist blocks. The agency also initiated a case against the company in August 2018 in Taft. The case has since been closed with no further details available. The Californian’s Ishani Desai contributed to this report. Deaths: 2,579 Percentage of all cases that are unvaccinated: 71.62 Percentage of all hospitalizations that are unvaccinated: 83.20

E&B Natural Resources Management Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was E&B Natural Resources Management founded?

    E&B Natural Resources Management was founded in 1972.

  • Where is E&B Natural Resources Management's headquarters?

    E&B Natural Resources Management's headquarters is located at Bakersfield.

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