On Sunday July 7th, 2013, Antero officials reported five workers were injured in a gas well pad explosion at about 4:00 a.m. at a Doddridge County, WV gas drilling site off Brushy Fork Road near New Milton, WV. The five men were taken to the West Penn Burn Center and are being treated for various degrees of burns. Regular operations have been shut down at the Antero Resources well site after the two explosions on Sunday morning. Most of the injured are in severe critical condition and some have required surgery.
The men who suffered burn injuries were working for contracting companies – three men from Nabors Completion and Production Service, one from C and R Downhole Drilling LLC, and a worker who is employed by Willowbend Investments Incorporated. The identities of the men and their conditions have not been released. Antero operates 15 drilling sites in seven counties in West Virginia. This is the second explosion at an Antero site within a year in West Virginia. Two deaths resulted from this tragic incident.
Right now investigators believe a pump which the employees were working on may have ignited gas vapors which caused an explosion, causing two tanks to rupture and causing damage to other tanks. The diesel engine pump, which had malfunctioned, was being used to push data logging equipment down into the horizontal wellbore, which had been drilled and hydraulically fractured, by pumping fluid behind it. The well had been drilled recently, and the crew was in the final stages of completing the well. Workers were inserting a narrow production tube into the metal casing around the drilled hole when methane gas somehow ignited. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that fumes that had volatilized and accumulated inside the tanks and exploded.
The fluid that was contained in two tanks next to the pump was “produced water” which is a fluid that comes back up from wells which may contain explosive volatile organic compounds. DEP spokeswoman said Monday the blast ruptured two tanks containing flow back water that Antero had been reusing, but the secondary containment system captured the fluid as designed and none left the site. There was no contamination to any nearby streams, she said, and the nearest home is about a half-mile away so it was unaffected.
Legal Insight You Need for Your Gas Well Injury Claim
West Virginia workers have had a long-standing tradition of persevering and working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions. As the oil and gas drilling industry grows, an increasing number of workers are experiencing accidents resulting in serious permanent injuries and wrongful death.
In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job will be able to receive some benefits from a Worker’s Compensation claim. In West Virginia, if employer is found to have intentionally placed their employee in harm’s way, resulting in serious injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company.
Many injured workers think that their financial damages for medical bills and lost earnings are limited to West Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation laws say that you cannot hold your employer accountable for damages above the amount of benefits paid by the workers’ comp insurance unless you can prove the employer acted with “deliberate intent,” as provided in W. Va. Code 23-4-2.
In many workplace injury and wrongful death cases, however, there may also be a third party who can be held liable for negligence. The third party can include the manufacturer of a piece of defective industrial equipment, the property owner or a subcontractor working on the same job site.
If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 or visit our website for more information.
We are glad to provide free books and information for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide: 304-594-1800.
For More Information: WBOY news, July 8th, 2013: http://www.wboy.com/story/22776291/gas-well-workers-injured-in-explosion#.Udq5ObZMY_0.twitter
West Virginia State Journal, July 8th, 2013: http://www.statejournal.com/story/22782306/basic-details-still-coming-in-on-sunday-antero-wellpad-explosion