May 9, 2018
A US District Court lawsuit filed in Houston by union shareholders in Anadarko Petroleum accuses the company of inaction in the months leading up to a fatal explosion in a Colorado neighborhood.
The lead plaintiff is a pension fund for the Philadelphia Iron Workers union, owners of Anadarko stock.
The suit claims two former employees of the Houston-based oil company have stated that safety measures were lax, according to the Associated Press.
An Anadarko spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending legal actions.
AP reports “former company employees” as saying Anadarko had cut its safety budget for refurbishing wells, before an April 2017 house explosion in Firestone, Colorado, 30 miles north of Denver, that killed two people and injured another.
Investigators have said the explosion was traced to unrefined (odorless) natural gas seeping into a basement from an Anadarko pipeline about ten feet from the home.
The line was thought to have been abandoned.
There were reportedly two company inspections of the well to which the pipeline was connected, but the well was not shut down, one former employee said, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in May of 2017 and amended on November 2nd of last year but was located by the Colorado Independent newspaper, resulting in its report on Tuesday.
The suit claims Anadarko’s inaction and the resulting explosion caused its stock price to decline, hurting investors including the union’s pension fund.
The investigation into the explosion is continuing.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Independent augments this story by citing named sources, including a former lobbyist, who claim the company’s commitment to safety — at least in the Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg Basin — are no longer credible, after safety considerations have deteriorated in the years since CEO Jim Hackett left Anadarko in 2012.