3 Killed in TX Oil Field Blast

Thursday, March 12, 2015 @ 02:03 PM gHale

Three people died in a pulling unit accident which led to an explosion at an Upton County, TX, well site, said Upton County Sheriff’s Department officials.

The explosion killed three people around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Investigator Dusty Kilgore of the Upton County Sheriff’s Office, who said deputies ended up assisted by the Rankin Volunteer Fire Department.

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“One person survived,” Kilgore said when asked if other workers were at the scene. That person did not go to the hospital, he said.

The explosion happened off FM 2401, about four miles inside Texas 49, Kilgore said.

The explosion happened when a pulling unit crew was working on an existing well owned by Parsley Energy of Midland. Kilgore declined to name the company that employed the pulling unit crew, directing that question to Parsley Energy.

A pulling unit is one of the mechanical oilfield applications used to remove the casing and other tubing apparatuses inside a well bar, according to a published report. It can also see use to remove drilling rods inside a wellbore. A pulling unit ends up used when a wellbore shows signs of internal damage, such as an obvious leak or a sudden drop in pressure of the drilling fluid at the surface. When a wellbore is displaying production problems that cannot end up repaired through more simple means, the pulling unit ends up physically lifting the casing and any of the drilling equipment that appears too damaged out of the wellbore so it can undergo examination and repair.

Kilgore said the sheriff’s department will not release the victims’ names until family members are able to make arrangements.

Kilgore said he did not have exact statistics for oil field fatalities in Upton County.

“I think the last fatality was the middle of last year, off the top of my head,” Kilgore said.

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