Denbury pays big fine for 2011 oil well blowout

July 25, 2013 • Business

In this August 2011 photograph released by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, shows accumulated contamination from an abandoned well south of Yazoo City, Miss., that vented carbon dioxide, oil and drilling mud for 37 days starting in August 2011. Overall, the company removed 27,000 tons of drilling mud and contaminated soil and 32,000 barrels of liquids from the area. Denbury Resources is paying a $662,500 fine to the MDEQ for the 2011 oil well blowout in Yazoo County. (AP Photo/Mississippi Department Of Environmental Quality)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Denbury Resources promises to bring new life to old oil fields by pumping in carbon dioxide to force additional oil to the surface. But the company’s oil fields have seen a series of uncontrolled carbon dioxide blowouts that may bring up oil and drilling fluids with them.

Now, one of the biggest of those blowouts has resulted in Denbury agreeing to pay a $662,500 fine to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality over a 2011 oil well blowout in Yazoo County. It’s one of the largest environmental fines Mississippi has assessed in the last 10 years.

And questions linger about whether Denbury and other companies pumping carbon dioxide underground are doing enough to ensure long-abandoned oil wells are safely capped and can stand up to the pressure that shoves up the oil.

Denbury has had at least two other Mississippi blowouts since 2007. It has been fighting another release near Delhi, La., since June 13. There, carbon dioxide and drilling fluids Login to read more

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