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Crane county rancher concerned for water after well blowout

Recordings of the CBS7 News at 6 broadcast.
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 4:50 PM CDT
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CRANE COUNTY, Texas (KOSA) - A rancher in Crane County who discovered an abandoned well was leaking brine water earlier this year now says she may be dealing with an underground blowout.

In June, CBS7 spoke with Ashley Watts, the owner of the Antina Cattle Ranch, who found a once abandoned Chevron well that had become unplugged, spraying brine water across the surface of the ranch.

Now Watts says her team of engineers has found a blowout thousands of feet underground.

The Antina Ranch spans 22,000 acres. Watts believes the blowout could be affecting more than just her property.

“My biggest concern is always water here in West Texas. We have good aquifers but they aren’t huge and they’re shallow. Whether it’s coming up from the surface and coming down like it was last time or whether it’s shooting out directly into the aquifer subsurface as it now appears to be doing. If we don’t have water, we don’t have anything. You can’t do anything here without water,” said Watts.

Watts and her team of engineers are still working to find out where the salt water is being injected from and how significant the problem is.

A representative from Chevron says that the company is committed to fixing the well, and “Any claims that link subsurface activity to the surface leak at Estes 24 are premature and unsubstantiated.”

Here’s more about what Chevron had to say in reference to a subsurface blowout...

Subsurface

· We are focused on the re-plugging and abandonment of Estes 24. It is premature to make conclusions around the cause of the surface leak. We are looking into the cause of the leak and will continue to work with the RRC.

· Any claims that link subsurface activity to the surface leak at Estes 24 are premature and unsubstantiated.

· Our work to re-plug and abandon will not prevent any future root cause analysis or evaluation of subsurface activity by Chevron, the Railroad Commission, or Ms. Watt.

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