Three Workers Burned in Flash Fire at Stone Energy’s Gas Well Pad

by Duane Nichols on October 30, 2016

Helicopters at Wetzel 4-H Camp for Burn Victims

Three Workers Hurt in Wetzel County Well Pad Fire

From an Article by Staff, Wheeling Intelligencer, October 28, 2016

New Martinsville, WV ­ – Two natural gas well operators and a mechanic suffered burn injuries at the Stone Energy Corp. Howell pad in Wetzel County after a “flash fire” this afternoon, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said.

Gillenwater said the workers were performing maintenance on the well when the flash fire took place at approximately 4:49 p.m. Friday. All three workers have been transported to hospitals via medical helicopter for injuries of uncertain severity, she said.

“All the wells on the pad are shut in,” Gillenwater said. “We believe the situation is under control.” The site is along Turkey Run Road off WV Route 20 between New Martinsville and Reader, WV.

She said only the three burned workers were injured, adding the fire did not spread throughout the pad. The WV-DEP will monitor the situation through the evening and weekend. The flash fire occurred at 4:49 pm and was under control by about 6 pm.

Officials with Stone Energy could not be reached for comment. The Lafayette, LA, based company recently filed for bankruptcy.

The following process description, taken from the Howell Pad Permit Application R13-3171, is provided here for informational purposes only:

Natural gas and produced fluids (condensate and water) will be received from ten (10) wells on this location at approximately 500 psi and pass through heaters (one per well) to avoid ice formation during subsequent pressure drops. These materials will then pass through a three-way separator where gas, condensate and water are separated. The gas will be routed to a gathering pipeline.

Condensate will normally be injected into a liquids pipeline owned and operated by others. However, as a back-up to this pipeline, provisions will be made to stabilize the condensate through heating and pressure reduction, coupled with vapor recovery. The stabilized condensate will be accumulated in four (4) 400 bbl tanks, pending truck transportation by others to a regional processing facility for separation into individual products.

Flash, working and breathing losses from these tanks will be routed to two (2) vapor recovery units (VRUs) with the captured vapors routed back to the discharge line. In the event of shut down of the VRU’s due to maintenance or equipment failure, the vapors from the condensate tanks will be routed to two vapor combustion units operating in parallel. Vapors generated during truck loading of condensate will be routed to the two vapor combustion units.

The produced water, and water generated during the fuel gas conditioning process will be accumulated in two (2) 400 bbl tanks pending transportation via pipeline to a Stone Energy water management facility. Nominal flash gas vapors from these tanks (modeled at 8 SCFD and conservatively estimated at 120 SCFD for permitting purposes) will be vented to the atmosphere. These vapors are comprised solely of flash gases generated during the drop to atmospheric pressure.

Three (3) gas-fueled generators will also be present to provide electric service for the facility instrumentation and controllers and to operate the pumps.

All natural gas-fueled equipment uses natural gas received at the station.

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