Red Mountain Energy Explosion at Gas Well in Oklahoma Kills Five (5)

by Duane Nichols on January 24, 2018

KTUL in Tulsa reports plugging & cleanup underway

Sheriff: Bodies of all 5 missing workers located after Oklahoma gas well explosion

From an Article by Clayton Youngman & Jessica Remer, KTUL News, January 23, 2018

QUINTON, Okla. (KTUL) — Pittsburg County officials say the bodies of all five workers missing after a gas well explosion Monday morning have been located.

Sheriff Chris Morris says the medical examiner’s office began recovery efforts around noon Tuesday and by 2 p.m. located all the missing workers in the area where they were last working, which is where Morris says the fire began. Their remains are now being transported to the ME’s office for identification.

Earlier Tuesday, Morris released the names of the victims: Josh Ray of Fort Worth, Texas; Matt Smith of McAlester, Oklahoma; Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado; Parker Waldridge of Crescent, Oklahoma; and Roger Cunningham of Seminole, Oklahoma.

In addition to the five victims, 17 other people working at the well at the time of the explosion. One person was taken to the hospital for burns but treated and released.

The explosion happened around 8:45 a.m. Monday. Dozens of fire departments, first responders and other organizations responded to the scene or offered help in the aftermath: Quinton Fire Department, Russellville Fire Department, #9 Fire Department, Krebs Fire Department, Alderson Fire Department, Haileyville Fire Department, Haywood-Arpelar Fire Department, Tannehill Fire Department, Crowder Fire Department, Brooken Fire Department, McAlester Fire Department and McAlester Fire Technical Rescue Team, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Pittsburg County Emergency Management, Pittsburg County Sheriff Department, Quinton Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol including fixed wing aircraft and IMT personnel, three medical helicopters, four ground ambulances, American Red Cross, Carl Albert Mental Health Crisis Unit, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Crisis Team, Haskell County Emergency Management, Haskell County Sheriff Department, the Town of Quinton, Quinton School, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Morris said survivors recounted hearing a loud boom with the explosion, then seeing fire and running for their lives.

Authorities say the workers were at a depth of 13,500 feet drilling to 17,000.

Speaking at the Tuesday afternoon news conference, Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said multipile federal agencies will be involved in the investigation into the explosion.

Counselors were brought in to help the workers who made it out safely, as well as their families. Red Mountain Energy, which operates the well, posted a statement to its website about the incident:

Our hearts are heavy for those affected by the tragic oil field accident in Pittsburgh County. As a company, we ask everyone to please join us in offering prayers for those who are missing and injured.

To the first responders who answered the call to render medical care and secure the well site, we say thank you. Our top priority is the people who have been affected and the safety of everyone involved.

Red Mountain Energy Deep Well Explosion

According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s preliminary investigative report on the incident, the fires that followed the explosion were caused by an uncontrolled gas release but they still don’t know what caused the initial explosion. Contaminated water from diesel and drilling fluids spilled into a ditch along the county road to the east of the well.

OCC recommended plugging and killing the well with heavy drilling mud. They will continue testing for contaminates and possible pollution in the area.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

OK Energy Today January 24, 2018 at 10:47 am

Oilfield Worker Killed in Fracking Accident in Blaine County

From OK Energy Today,, November 29, 2017

The oilfield accident that killed a 36-year old worker on Tuesday in Blaine county remains under investigation by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.

Undersheriff David Robertson indicated it happened at a Devon Energy well site located along County Road 2520 and a quarter mile south of County Road 840 west of Watonga.

It occurred as crews were fracking a well and reports indicated a fitting failed in the first phase and struck a worker in the chest. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His name has not been released. The first phase was just underway and hit 2,400 pounds of pressure when the fitting failed and debris hit two workers. Both were rushed to a hospital.

The Sheriff’s office indicated another worker was injured and both men were employees of Universal Pressure Pumping, a firm headquartered in Texas but with an office in El Reno. The company has been in operation for more than 30 years and describes itself as a “premier source for hydraulic fracturing, cementing, nitrogen and acidizing services for reservoir enhancement.

The company says it provides well services primarily in Texas and the Mid-Continent and Appalachian regions.

“Devon is coordinating with its contractor and the appropriate government authorities in investigating the incident,” said John Porretto, director of corporate communications for Devon Energy. “Devon wishes to extend its sincere condolences to the victim’s loved ones during this difficult time.”


Reply January 26, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Driller in Oklahoma Explosion Has History of Deadly Accidents, Safety Violations

From Lorraine Chow,, January 25, 2018

The drilling company involved in Monday’s natural gas rig explosion in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma that killed five workers has a long record of deadly accidents and numerous safety violations.

Ten workers have died within the past ten years at well sites linked to Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy, the Associated Press reported, citing data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The accidents occurred at drilling sites in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Patterson-UTI has also been fined nearly $367,000 in the last decade for more than 140 safety violations, including many serious ones.

According to the AP:

“A 2008 report from a U.S. Senate committee described Patterson-UTI as one of the nation’s worst violators of workplace safety laws. The report devoted an entire section to the company and 13 employees who died in Texas rig accidents over a nearly four-year period.

“A separate AP analysis published in 2008 showed at least 20 Patterson-UTI employees died on the job between 2002 and 2007. No other oil and gas company had more than five fatal accidents during that span.”

The rig explosion this week appears to be the deadliest since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico claimed the lives of 11 men.

“Patterson-UTI has embraced a culture of continuous improvement in safety, training and operations,” the company responded to the AP about its safety record. “In recent years, we have invested millions of dollars on training and protective equipment and worked to instill a company-wide culture where safety is the top priority of each employee.”

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the explosion near the town of Quinton. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will also consider launching a larger investigation.

An initial report indicates an uncontrolled gas release led to the blast. A worker at the scene tried unsuccessfully to shut the well down.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our employees and others we partner with in the field. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected and their loved ones,” the company said in a statement after the explosion.

“We are actively investigating the cause of the tragedy so that we can learn from it and protect against it happening again.”



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