Three killed in Texas oil well blowout

Article by Amanda Doyle

AN oil well blowout in Texas, US, has killed three people.

The well in Burleson County is operated by Chesapeake Energy. The blowout occurred around 15:30 local time on 29 January and killed one contractor. A second contractor died of his injuries on 30 January, and the third fatality was announced on 3 February. The contractors were from CC Forbes and Eagle Pressure Control. One other person was injured.

The contractors, along with employees of Chesapeake Energy, were performing maintenance operations on the Wendl and Daniel H 1 H well when the blowout occurred. They were working on upgrading a wellhead at the surface when natural gas unexpectedly entered the well and ignited, according to the Houston Chronicle. The cause of ignition is not known. Eleven people were working at the well at the time.

No evacuations were ordered and the fire was extinguished by afternoon on 30 January. According to the Houston Chronicle, the well was reported in November to be producing 220 bbl of crude oil and 1.9m ft3 of natural gas per month.

Gordon Pennoyer, Director of Communications and Investor Relations at Chesapeake Energy, told local news channel KBTX: "We are deeply saddened to learn that a third contractor has died as a result of injuries sustained in last week’s well control incident in Burleson County, Texas. Our thoughts and our prayers remain with those impacted. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation."

The Chemical Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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