Aug. 16–The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board will release new details Thursday related to a January drilling rig explosion that left five workers dead.
A news conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. Central Time at the Skirvin Hilton hotel in Oklahoma City.
The well fire and explosion happened on Jan. 22 near Quinton, about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. The drilling rig was owned by Houston-based Patterson-UTI and was the deadliest U.S. accident in the oil and gas industry since 11 workers were killed in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oklahoma regulators had said at the time their initial findings suggested that the blowout preventer — the same piece of equipment that failed in the Deepwater Horizon accident — may have failed, leading to the explosion. That equipment is usually the last line of defense to prevent a disaster.
The well was operated by Red Mountain, a small Oklahoma oil and gas company. Patterson-UTI ran the drilling operation as Red Mountain’s main contractor.
Three of the five killed were Patterson-UTI employees, including one Texan. The victims are Josh Ray of Fort Worth; Cody Risk of Wellington, Colo.; and Matt Smith, Parker Waldridge and Roger Cunningham, all of Oklahoma. Ray, Smith and Risk were Patterson-UTI employees.
In a July 30 news release the U.S. Department of Labor’sOccupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA said three companies — Patterson-UTI Drilling, Crescent Consulting LLC, and Skyline Directional Drilling LLC — face penalites of more than $118,000 for “exposing employees to fire and explosion hazards” in relation to the five deaths.
OSHA cited Patterson-UTI and Crescent Consulting for “failing to maintain proper controls while drilling a well, inspect slow descent devices, and implement emergency response plans.” It cited all three companies for failure to ensure that the heat lamps in use on the site were approved for hazardous locations.
“These employers failed to properly control hazards involved in oil and gas extraction activities, and the result was tragic,” said OSHA Oklahoma City Area Office Director David Bates. “Employers are required to monitor their operations to ensure workplace health and safety procedures are adequate and effective.”
According to the Associated Press Patterson-UTI officials said they disagreed with the finding and had filed a notice of contest. A representative for Crescent Consulting declined to comment, and Skyline Directional Drilling did not respond to requests for comment.
(c)2018 the San Antonio Express-News
Visit the San Antonio Express-News at www.mysanantonio.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.