Andrews Burned Oil Line Halts Flow

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - Oil production in Andrews County has been disrupted since the flow line by FM 1788 went up in flames during the fire on Sunday.

Following the massive grassfire on FM 1788 in Andrews, the charred ground stretches as far as the eye can see.

Emergency officials said they didn't return home until 1:30 a.m., making it a 12-hour fire, which NewsWest 9 learned has burned 80,000 acres.

They said they've contained most of the fire and are taking down the last few hot spots.

But there's another cost to the fire.

In addition to the fences and power line poles going up, and nearby oil rigs being evacuated, the oil flow lines burned too.

"Fire blows across those and actually catches that poly material on fire," Andrews Emergency Management Coordinator, Mike Cook, said. "It looks like there's a line of fire for however long the flow line runs."

And now they hardly resemble complete lines. For miles, the flow line had been reduced to melted plastic and residual oil. That's going to cut the flow and hurt oil production in Andrews County.

Some areas had even been burned away, stopping any sort of oil flow.

"Oil companies lost a lot of flow lines," Cook said. "That's gonna impact the oil companies because they can't move the oil from the wells to the tank batteries so they're gonna be working on those pretty quick, getting new flow lines laid out so they can get production back in progress."

NewsWest 9 was told Chesapeake Energy and Clayton Williams Energy had facilities out there.

NewsWest 9 called Clayton Williams' office in Midland multiples times to find out the damage to them but we were never given an answer.

In the meantime, Andrews officials continue to stress to everyone to be careful in case more fires spark.

"Wildfires are gonna be out there for a while longer," Cook said. "Until we get some rain."