In 2018, across the United States, several oil rig accidents cost workers their lives. Whether fiery explosions that occurred as a result of company negligence or mishaps from other common dangers present in the field, these incidents placed many oil field workers in the face of danger.
Work in the oil and gas industry is associated with many risks. These dangers increase when rig owners negligently attempt to save money, get the job done quicker, or fail to maintain safety protocols.
Here are just some of the many incidents that took a turn for the worst in 2018.
Major Oil Field Accidents in 2018
1. Quinton, Oklahoma
In January 2018, five men were killed in a drilling rig explosion outside of Quinton, Oklahoma. This number places the incident as the deadliest drilling accident since the Deep Water Horizon explosion in 2010, which killed 11 workers.
Reports revealed that the explosion was caused by the release of an uncontrollable amount of gas that immediately caught fire. An employee tried to shut off the well but could not successfully do so. Oklahoma Medical Officials revealed that the five men died of burns and smoke inhalation.
A lawsuit filed in the Pittsburgh County District Court claims company negligence through attempts to save money. Red Mountain, owner and operator of the well, chose to use a lighter drilling fluid than what other agencies in the area were using.
Because the drilling mud was not heavy enough to control the well, it began to flow uncontrollably. The natural gas emitted from the well combined with oxygen and ignited.
2. Superior, Wisconsin
On April 27, 2018, an oil refinery explosion occurred in Superior, Wisconsin. 11 individuals were injured and many nearby residents were evacuated for their own safety.
The incident occurred at Husky Energy oil refinery. A tank of crude oil or asphalt exploded at the site, causing dark plumes of fog to rise into the air and cast smoky clouds across the sky. Authorities quickly evacuated communities within a 3-mile radius of the refinery, as well as people located in an area 10 miles south of the explosion.
Two fires occurred, however, the first was put out shortly. The second blaze was so intense that authorities evacuated locals. Workers at the rig report the explosion as sounding like a sonic boom.
The 65-year old plant is Wisconsin’s only remaining refinery and processes up to 50,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The refinery had been fined for flammable liquid violations before. No deaths occurred in this explosion.
3. Midland County, Texas
Seven people were sent to the hospital on August 2, 2018, as a result of a series of explosions in Midland County, Texas. The incident also caused the shutdown of five lines before being extinguished.
Kinder Morgan INC and Navitas Midstream Partners LLC had adjacent pipelines and both suffered damage. The cause of the explosions has not been determined.
Navitas company employees were among some of the injured. Five workers with critical injuries were treated at the University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas.
One man remained in critical condition, three other men were admitted after suffering major burns, and the fifth man was released after treatment.
Two firefighters at the scene were also sent to the hospital because of burns. Midland city officials reported that the explosion occurred just outside of Midland.
4. Gillette County, Wyoming
On October 31, an oil field worker was killed in an explosion near Gillette County, Wyoming. There were three employees on site at the time of the incident, however, the two others were able to make it out.
It is unclear what caused the initial combustion and explosion at the rig. The fire is said to have involved 10 large oil tanks, two passenger vehicles, 2 semi-trucks, three buildings, and two full 1,700-gallon propane tanks. All of this combined with brush and grass caused the fire to spread.
It took sixteen firefighters and two command officers to put out the fire. The fire led to a highway closure that was reopened thereafter.
5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
An explosion occurred at the MarkWest Energy Gas Processing Plant on December 13 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A 61-year old worker was injured in the explosion.
The oil field worker was pronounced dead at the hospital due to severe burns. He was one of four contractors who suffered burns from the explosion. The other victims were transported to local hospitals.
The men worked for Energy Transportation LLC, at the Houston, Pennsylvania site. The explosion occurred as Energy Transporters were cleaning out a pipeline. Officials report that vapors ignited near storage tanks that contained natural gas condensate which has similar properties to gasoline.
If you or a loved one was hurt or killed in an oil field accident similar to the incidents mentioned, it is crucial that you seek the expert knowledge of oilfield attorneys to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Oilfield mishaps can ruin lives and cause serious damage. Workers hurt on the job are victims and deserve all the help they can get to recover from such incidents. The dedicated team of Gulf Coast oilfield accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns have the years of experience in helping survivors and the families of the victims recover damages from oil rig companies.
Call today at 713-766-0075 for your free consultation.