Agas well leak in Crawford County caused a noticeable odor across Northern Michigan on Christmas Eve.
Authorities reported that emergency responders were called to a gas well leak at 6:15 a.m. Saturday in Beaver Creek Township. Responders sealed the leak by 7 a.m., but the gas release’s size remains unknown.
Beaver Creek Township is south of Grayling and the well belongs to BreitBurn Energy Partners. Reports as far away as Petoskey and the Mackinac Bridge identified a noticeable gas odor throughout the morning.
“There was a valve that failed on the well in question in Beaver Creek Township and there was a release of natural gas,” said Greg Brown, BreitBurn spokesman. “We apologize if anybody was alarmed. We don’t believe there is any danger, just a bad smell.”
He said the odor — often described as like rotten eggs — is caused by the high level of sulfur compound mercaptans in the gas collected at the well. The hole that allowed the gas to escape was less than a quarter-inch, but it’s unknown how long the faulty valve spewed the gas, he said.
Brown said company officials believe it was a small gas leak.
“But it obviously wasn’t small in terms of odor,” Brown said.
The smell dispersed northward throughout the day on Saturday, he said.
State drilling and mining officials could not be reached for confirmation over the holiday weekend regarding the well’s safety record and an estimated gas leak size.
Scott Simons, DTE spokesman, said the company received dozens of calls Saturday for possible gas leaks across much of Northern Michigan and responded to each. However, it was believed many of the reported odors were connected to the gas well leak near Grayling.