The worker, an employee of Houston-based Cameron International, has not been accounted for since the massive explosion on Tuesday morning, Chevron said. Local reports said authorities fear the worst.
Chevron on Friday continued to clear equipment and vehicles from the well site in Greene County to allow contractor Wild Well Control to get close enough to the flames to put out the fire.
The Lanco-7H well blew out on Tuesday, sparking the initial blaze, but the adjacent Lanco-6H on the same pad was damaged in the blast and is the well that is still burning, Chevron said.
Local reports said the size of the flames, once several stories high, have receded to below the tree line.
A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection said on Thursday that the Lanco-7H had self extinguished on Wednesday, as water coming up from the well put out the fire. But he said there was still “considerable gas and water” rushing out of the bore hole on Thursday.
Chevron said a “charred crane” remains at the well head and is what is keeping the fire burning.
“This crane is maintaining extreme temperatures and is the ignition source that continues to reignite the natural gas flowing from the initial well,” the company said in an update on Friday. “This flame is serving as the source of ignition for the second well. The flames have prevented the combustible gas from spreading beyond the well site.”
The crane must be moved to allow access for the well intervention equipment, it added.
Chevron said water and firefighting equipment is currently being delivered to the site.
“Activity at this point has been focused on ensuring that Wild Well Control has the space, resources, conditions and equipment on-site and in place to safely begin its operations to gain control of the well and stop the flow of natural gas,” Chevron said.