Gasfield noises cause concern

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2001

Strange noises occurring during the early morning hours at gasfields on Kalifornsky Beach Road may have alarmed area residents, but Marathon Oil Company officials said the sounds were associated with a safety feature.

Don Erwin, Marathon production supervisor, said the noises occurred at a pad at the gasfields at Mile 13 Kalifornsky Beach Road due to a control malfunction caused by pressure build-up in a system.

When the malfunction occurred, the automatic safety systems kicked in, causing a production shut-in on the pad. Pressure was then released from the relief valve, causing the noise.

The valve opened and closed multiple times, he said, and the noises were probably loud.

"That is just a safety feature," Erwin said, adding that the occurrence is rare.

Patricia Komon-Poole, who lives near her Albatross Restaurant and Lounge at Mile 13.1 K-Beach Road, came home from work and was reading early Saturday morning when she heard a loud noise.

"It sounded almost like a muted rotor from a helicopter," she said. "It was very loud."

At first she thought it was loose metal on her roof, so she went outside to check. Once outside, she noticed the noises were coming from the Marathon Oil gasfields.

She said the noises were spaced about five minutes apart. Then the sounds became more constant and lasted about 10 to 12 minutes.

"Then it sort of went away," she said.

Erwin urged neighbors of the gasfield area to call Marathon Oil with future questions or concerns.

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