CSB Discusses Early Stages of Investigation into Fatal Gas Well Explosion
Both the drilling contractor and operator of the well involved in an explosion that fatally injured five workers are cooperating with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s investigation into the incident, the agency said in an update published on Jan. 31. As this issue of The Synergist went to press, CSB was in the early stages of investigating the fatal gas well explosion near Quinton, Okla., and was reviewing the well plan, daily drilling reports, and electronic rig data provided by Red Mountain Operating, the lease holder and operator of the well, and Patterson-UTI Drilling Company, LLC, the drilling contractor. The agency was also planning to interview eyewitnesses and others present at the wellsite at the time of the incident. Drilling of the well in question began on Jan. 11, 2018. CSB learned that the rig crew was preparing to change out the drill bit at the time of the explosion; the crew had recently pulled the drillpipe and associated drilling tools out of the well in preparation for the change. In drilling, CSB said, “the operator is responsible for the well’s design and the drilling program, which should account for well-specific conditions that could increase the risk or complexity of the drilling contractor’s various drilling and well control operations.” The drilling contractor, who brings infrastructure such as the drilling rig and supplies the work force, has more direct control over the primary drilling operations and emergency response. CSB investigators planned to return to the wellsite as key pieces of equipment were ready to be collected.