Details emerge in fatal rig collapse

29 July 2015,  News Wires – Authorities have provided details and identified the victims of an oilfield accident last week that left one man dead and another in critical condition while causing an apparent oil spill.

Oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico

Law enforcement officials arrived on scene at the site in Woods County, Oklahoma, on 23 July to see a workover rig lying on its side, with a collapsed derrick, horizontal on the ground nearby.

The site is owned by Tulsa-based Midstates Petroleum. A crew from Texas-based Basic Energy Services was performing a fishing operation to retrieve a stuck pipe from the Johnson 4-H28 well at the time of the incident, according to a Sheriff’s report.

The deceased was identified as 27-year-old Justin David Turner. He was on the tubing board in the derrick of the workover rig when the rig collapsed, the report said. Michael Brown, identified as a tool pusher for Basic, was also critically injured and flown to a hospital. His current condition was not known, but his injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

Prior to the collapse, the rig began pulling at 160,000 pounds when the stuck pipe was jarred loose. It “travel(ed) towards the opening of the hole” pulling between 100,000 and 130,000 pounds, but apparently got stuck again, as the gauge reportedly jumped back to 160,000 pounds.

At that point, a witness quoted in the Sheriff’s report “saw the front wheels of the rig coming off the ground”.

“The rig stood straight up in the air and the derrick mast fell,” said the witness, who said he was responsible for the Basic crew.

When the rig reached “the point of no return”, the witness told the Sheriff, he “jumped off the catwalk to the ground”.

Basic chief financial officer Alan Krenek said the company expects the rig will be able to be salvaged, but has not completed a full assessment of the damages.

The rig collapsed on a well pad containing four wells, a Midstates spokesman said. According to the report, the derrick struck a wellhead “causing oil to shoot in the air”.

Photographs showed a geyser of oil shortly after the incident and, later, a black sheen around the fallen derrick.

Neither the Sheriff nor the local fire department, which also responded, knew the volume or duration of the oil spill, or had details on the clean-up process. The Midstates spokesman said he did “not have that information”.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration declined comment since its investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The victims were both employees of Basic.

Krenek said the company is “doing everything we can” for families of the victims, “as well as others that were on location, trying to help them out with this very tragic event”.


– Upstream

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