Hot Oil Backflow Causes Rig Blast

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 @ 04:09 PM gHale

An oil rig explosion in Karnes County, TX, has left two people hospitalized.

The blast rocked a rig owned by Amerril Energy Co., officials said. A truck driver was transferring 45 barrels of hot oil into the well suffered injuries when a backflow set the truck on fire and ignited the explosion, said Jason Reyes, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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The driver, whose truck also carried two propane tanks, received second- and third-degree burns, Reyes said. “It just so happened that this individual was transferring the load and was in close proximity of it,” Reyes said.

During the oil production process, sometimes hot oil pumps into the well. Wax can build up in a well and the hot oil will clean it out, Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye said.

Karnes County Judge Barbara Shaw said one person went to an area hospital via ambulance and rescue workers flew another to a San Antonio hospital. A Brooke Army Medical Center spokesman could not confirm the victim was at the hospital.

A Railroad Commission investigator was at the accident site at mid-afternoon, and will “look at whether any rules were violated and whether that contributed to the accident,” Nye said. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened an investigation into the accident, spokesman Juan Rodriguez said from OSHA’s regional office in Dallas.

The well belongs to Amerril Energy LLC of Houston, and Texas Hot Oilers Inc. of Giddings owns the hot-oil truck, Nye said. A spokesman for Amerril Energy was not immediately available for comment. An employee for Texas Hot Oilers declined to comment.

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