Blast and Fire at Blue Racer Processing Plant in Ohio Valley Kills Worker

by Duane Nichols on November 14, 2014

Blast At Pump Kills Va. Worker  — Blue Racer facility near Caldwell in Ohio erupts in fire Wednesday

From an Article by Casey Junkins, Wheeling Intelligencer, November 14, 2014

CALDWELL, OHIO – A Wednesday evening blast and resulting fire at a Blue Racer Midstream natural gas processing station near Caldwell in Noble County in Ohio killed 48-year-old Norman Butler, a contract worker from Virginia. Blue Racer spokeswoman said Butler was working on a natural gas liquids pump that moves that condensate into a gathering pipeline. Condensate is considered a light oil with a consistency similar to gasoline.

Blue Racer is a partnership of Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy. Through its vast and expanding network of pipelines, processing stations and compressors, the company moves natural gas. The pipeline into which the Noble County condensate is pumped leads to the giant Natrium plant along the Ohio River in Marshall County.

The Noble County Blue Racer site is adjacent to a Consol Energy natural gas well pad. Consol is Blue Racer’s “customer,” as the condensate Blue Racer processes comes from Consol’s well. The accident happened at the processing station.

There were no other injuries to Blue Racer or Consol Energy employees or contractors. The Noble County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene immediately following the incident along with local fire departments, the Noble County Emergency Management Agency and the state Fire Marshal.

All production wells and pipelines nearby are shut down while an investigation takes place. The Noble County Sheriff said officials remained on the scene to fully extinguish and contain the fire Thursday. He also asked for a “no fly zone” in the area of the fire as a precautionary matter.


Fracking blast kills one Halliburton worker, injures 2 in Weld County, Colorado

From an Article by Jesse Paul & Mark Jaffe, Denver Post, November 13, 2014

MEAD, COLORADO — One worker was killed and two were seriously injured Thursday when a frozen, high pressure water line ruptured at a Weld County oil well site. The workers were trying to thaw the line when the accident occurred, officials said.

The Anadarko Petroleum Corp. well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked, by the Halliburton Co. and the workers were Halliburton employees. Anadarko said it was suspending all fracking operations in the area pending a review of the accident.

The area has been the scene of drilling since at least 1979, but this year Anadarko has sunk at least nine, deep horizontal wells, according to state records. Each of those wells has to be fracked by pumping a mixture of water, sand and trace chemicals into the well at high pressure to crack rock and release oil.

Thomas Sedlmayr, 48, was airlifted to Denver Health and Grant Casey, 28, was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. The name of the dead worker has not been released.

Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating the accident. The death and injuries appeared to be caused by a high-pressure water valve that ruptured, said agency spokesman Sean Standridge, the office’s spokesman. Firefighters also responded to the accident.

The workers were trying to warm the pipe, which had frozen, when it ruptured, Standridge said.  The temperature was about 10 degrees at the time, but overnight temperatures were well below zero. The water pressure was estimated at between 2,500 and 3,500 pounds per square inch.  Dozens of people work at the site, which is about two hundred yards long.

Investigators with the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration in Denver were notified of the accident at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, said Herb Gibson, OSHA area director. Two investigators are at the Mead area site looking into the accident, Gibson said. “It’s a dangerous industry,” Gibson said. “This is a tragic situation.”

The oil and gas industry in 2012 had a fatality rate of about 25 per 100,000 workers — higher than construction, manufacturing, or agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Between 2007 and 2011 there were 19 oil and gas field fatalities in Colorado, according to federal data.

In 2012, a 60-year-old worker died in another Weld County drilling accident that occurred when pressurized gas was released as workers prepared an Encana Corp. Davis well pad to begin pumping. In October a worker was killed on a drilling rig in Garfield County.


Reported Gas Well Explosion in Lewis County, WV

ORIGINAL: 10/31/14 –  WDTV – 5 News has received viewer concerns about an incident at a gas well in the area, Friday. Lewis County 911 says that EMS crews and the Walkersville Fire Department responded to a well site in Walkersville around 3:30 p.m. No word on any injuries or on what happened.

UPDATE: 11/01/14 –  Lewis County 911 officials said this reported incident was a gas well explosion. There’s no reports yet if anyone was injured or what caused it.

NOTE: An unconfirmed report indicates that a 16 year old on an ATV was injured or killed as a result of an explosion at a conventional gas well site.

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