Three oilfield workers suffered severe burns at a Wyoming oil and gas site last week. An oilfield compressor exploded causing serious injuries to the workers. Two of the men were taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, and the other man was airlifted to the Western States Burn Center in Greeley, Colorado. Firefighters were dispatched at 7:28 pm and were on scene until 11:45 pm battling the blaze. It was said that the response time from Laramie County Fire District No. 4 was fast and prompt. It is still under investigation to what caused the fire, but the fire chief did announce that the fire was natural gas-fed.
The three men were contract employees of Houston-based EOG Resources. EOG is investigating the explosion to find the exact cause. Multiple different companies have drilled deep oil wells in a wide area east and south of Cheyenne, WY over the past decade. With all these new deep oil wells the risk of explosions and fires is extremely high. The oil wells produce a substantial amount of natural gas, which is burned off or sent to market by pipeline. Compressor facilities keep gas pipelines pressurized, which is an essential part of an oilfield operation. It is an important component of the natural gas transport system, which helps get gas from one place to another. It compresses the pressure to a specified limit, thereby allowing it to continue traveling along the pipeline.
All men were in stable condition and were able to correspond with their families according to reports. A worker who was not hurt reported hearing a crackling sound. He went to shut off the gas, but once he turned around, he heard an explosion and it was up in fire. Thankfully all the men were rescued, but not without serious injuries. According to the fire chief that arrived on scene he said, “it will be a long road of recovery for these gentlemen.”
The oilfield is one of the most exhilarating and profitable places to work, but it can also be extremely dangerous. There are ways that injuries occur during oil and gas mining activities that you may not think about until an accident ensues. The serious nature of injuries that happen can be life threatening and some result in death. Sadly, most injuries are preventable in the oilfield. Employers have a responsibility to their employees to ensure proper safety and training procedures are in place. This also means employers should guarantee the equipment being used is maintained thoroughly.