Antero Resources Cites Reasons for Deadly Gas Well Explosion in WV

by Duane Nichols on August 12, 2013

Antero Resources Ruddy Alt Pad

Deadly Gas Well Explosion in Doddridge County

From Article by Kim Freda, WBOY, August 1, 2013

Clarksburg, WV — Antero Resources has requested that the Office of Oil and Gas allow it to resume operations at the Ruddy Alt Pad in Doddridge County where five men received severe burns in a July 7 gas well explosion that later killed two of the men. The report Antero was required to submit to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was released Thursday afternoon.

The W.Va. DEP ordered Antero to cease operations at the site on July 12 and required that Antero provide a report demonstrating knowledge and understanding the cause of the July 7 explosion.

Antero cites the explosion happened due to the presence and accumulation of gas from storage tanks on location, weather conditions exacerbating the accumulation of the gas, a concentration of heavier than methane hydrocarbons in the gas mixture, and an apparent ignition source near C&R quad-plex skid pump at the site, said the letter submitted by Antero Vice President Alvyn Schopp.

The two page letter also highlights actions that Antero said it plans to take at its future well completion locations, including requiring personnel to wear portable gas monitors. Antero also said it will consider installing fixed gas monitors for each location, based on individual site risk assessment. You can read the complete list here.

As part of the report requirements, Antero said pollutants weren’t released on the Ruddy Alt pad and there weren’t any associated with the fire.  (This is not a reasonable statement under the circumstances.)

The DEP found Antero’s report to be incomplete, said spokeswoman Kathy Cosco in an email.  The original cease operations order is still in effect and will remain in effect until Antero provides a response that satisfies the requirements outlined in the original order, Cosco said.

In a letter to Antero sent Aug. 1, the W.Va. DEP ordered the company to submit an additional report explaining how it came to the conclusion and made its final determination about the cause of the explosion.  The DEP also requests that Antero explain how it determined that no pollutants were released during the explosion.

Jason Mearns, 37, of Beverly died Sunday, July 28 at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh as a result of the injuries he received in the fire, along with Tommy Paxton, 45, of Walton, who died at the same hospital on July 24. The men were employed by contractors hired by Antero. Three men remain hospitalized, although Antero is unable (or unwilling) to provide their conditions.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leigh Ervine August 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I live in Martinsburg, WV and did not hear about the explosion until last week when I read a story about the second man’s death.

If this were a coal mine accident, there would be a lot more press coverage on this.
Even if they aren’t required to monitor gas levels, why aren’t they doing it for employee safety?

Why did it take 5 days after the accident for them to be told to cease operations? A coal mine accident would have had to cease operations immediately.

Isn’t there some outside agency that would investigate the cause of the explosion? It seems like we are relying on the fox to tell us why there are chickens missing. No matter what the company reports and the WVDEP accepts, the results will be suspect.


Duane Nichols September 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm


A gas well explosion apparently threw a worker 50 feet, causing him to be flown to the hospital in a helicopter. Crews told WDTV 5 News it happened at the Antero site off Dog Run Road around 3:30 p.m. in Salem.

Officials said there was a high pressure explosion at the well. The man, who’s in his late 20′s, landed on his back, and had a head injury. He was semi-conscious when he was flown to Ruby Hospital in Morgantown. There’s no word on his name or condition, or what caused the accident.

ORIGINAL STORY (09/28/2013):

A man had to be flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital on Saturday afternoon after an apparent gas well explosion. It happened at the Antero site on Dog Run Road in Salem around 3:30 PM.


Sue Hill September 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

Please encourage our television stations and newspapers to keep up their good reports…. and to start asking the DEP why this company is allowed to operate in WV? (I know… its all about the money) BUT how many lives must be lost; how many workers must be injured; how much contamination to our waters, soils, and air must be endured before someone realizes…. Hmmmmm? Maybe, just maybe, this company needs to be “set on the bench” by the DEP. I know I am heartsick over the human sacrifice in the name of the so-called “economy”. Again, I encourage everyone to support our media and encourage our reporters to bring ALL facts to light.


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