Marcellus & Utica Shale Operations Result in Injuries and Deaths in Spite of Serious Safety Training

by Duane Nichols on November 30, 2014

1st Annual Shale Safety Institute, Nov. 2014

Shale drilling spawns need for safety training

Article by Casey Junkins, Martins Ferry Times Leader, November 28, 2014

As the Ohio Department of Natural Resources continues issuing permits for Utica and Marcellus shale oil and natural gas drilling, firefighters and emergency responders across the region realize they need to learn the proper manner for dealing with potential problems at well sites.

“Energy development in the Ohio Valley has presented many great opportunities, including a stronger local economy and incredible advancements and research,” Belmont College President Paul Gasparro said. “With this development has also come a heightened awareness regarding safety issues. Through the Shale Safety Institute, first responders and emergency service personnel are receiving the highly relevant training and education they need to be able to respond to oilfield related incidents and keep our communities safe.”

Recently, the college partnered with New York City-based driller Hess Corp. to welcome more than 250 local first responders today to the Shale Safety Institute 2014. Sixty-six fire and EMS stations sent representatives to participate in the training.

“Hess holds its commitment to social responsibility as one of its top values as a company,” Rob Williams, Hess manager of Operations in the Utica field, said. “Hess is dedicated to developing trusted partnerships to build programs like the Shale Safety Institute 2014 that can make long-lasting positive impacts in the communities where we work and live.”

A mass casualty session taught triage methods where participants practiced their skills on mannequins altered to represent emergency victims. During a foam application course, responders simulated spraying firefighting foam firsthand from a fire engine. Participants also practiced establishing a landing zone as a helicopter flew into the site.

“Training events, such as the Shale Safety Institute, are highly relevant to our local first responders. It is important to have hands-on instruction to familiarize ourselves with the necessary equipment and guidelines in case of an emergency situation,” Curtis Kyer, Belmont College Assistant EMS and Fire Coordinator, added.

Also, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program recently completed its fall firefighter training series. First responders from the Barton Volunteer Fire Department, Brookside Fire Department, Cumberland Trail Fire District, Neffs Volunteer Fire Department, Sunset Heights Fire Department and Wolfhurst Volunteer Fire Department recently completed the training course.

“I learned a wealth of information that I will take back to my department,” said Lt. Robert Ice from the Wolfhurst VFD upon completing the training.

“As someone who works with the industry and the fire service, this training was very helpful,” said Lt. Charles Thompson II from the Barton VFD. “It provides a great overview of what could happen in the field and I think every firefighter should take the course.”

Those completing the course gain information in Ohio oil and gas activity and development, differences between emergencies and non-emergencies or common oilfield practices, common terminology and types of equipment used during oilfield activity, and hands-on techniques for responding to potential incidents, including live demonstrations.

Since 1999, the organization has trained more than 1,200 firefighters from Ohio and seven other states. The training curriculum was collaboratively developed by the group, the oil and gas industry, regulatory agencies, firefighters and emergency response experts and meets state and federal fire safety standards.


Noble County sheriff identifies dead worker from oil well explosion

By Bob Downing, Associate Press,  November 13, 2014

Summerfield, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a worker at an eastern Ohio oil well has died in an explosion at the facility. Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said in a statement Thursday that 48-year-old Norman Butler of Virginia died in the accident Wednesday afternoon near the CONSOL Energy well pad, about 40 miles north of Marietta.

Authorities say the explosion occurred near an oil well head and caused a fire, which was contained but continued to burn Thursday. Rescuers were also still on the scene late Thursday morning attempting to recover Butler’s body from the site.

A spokeswoman with Blue Racer Midstream, which owns and operates the facility, says all production wells and pipelines at the site have been secured. She says the company will continue to work with authorities to investigate the accident.


Another Man is Dead Following a Well Pad Accident

From RESQ_WV, WTRF 7 News, November 29, 2014

Tyler County, WV – WTRF 7 News has learned one man is dead following an accident at an Antero Resources gas well pad in Tyler County. The accident happened around 2 p.m. Friday November 28th at the well pad on Braden Hill Road.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time. The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, Middlebourne Fire Department, Shirley Fire Department, and Middlebourne EMS were all on scene.

The details of the accident are not being released, but the investigation is being handled by the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department.

NOTE: The Shirley Volunteer Fire Department of Tyler County has issued an appeal for money to purchase a new or used tanker truck.  This would replace the tanker that became damaged beyond repair at a gas well pad fire earlier this fall in Tyler County.

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SkyLark Report December 1, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture – December 1, 2014 – Indian Creek Road of WV Route 18 in Tyler County. About 6 pm, natural gas pipeline ruptured. Gas has been shut off and isolated. Company personnel on-site. No injuries reported.


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