Chesapeake Energy, Others Cited by OSHA for Fatal Oil Rig Blast



Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Corp. has been fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over a deadly drilling rig explosion that happened in January in Texas.

Two other oil production companies were fined along with Chesapeake Energy for a total of $387,273 over the Jan. 29 explosion that killed three workers.

The fines were levied after a six-month investigation by OSHA. The federal agency also fined Eagle Pressure Control L.L.C. of Fort Worth, Texas and Forbes Energy Services L.L.C. of Alice, Texas.

Chesapeake and Eagle Pressure didn’t respond to requests to discuss the citations. A Forbes Energy representative declined to speak about the alleged violations because the case hadn’t been resolved.

The well blowout happened in Burleson County on Jan. 29 and drew investigators from OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board.

One worker died immediately when natural gas in the well sparked a fire, according to initial reports. Two later died of their injuries in the hospital, with one dying over the weekend.

The well belongs to Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., and the workers were employed by contractors hired by Chesapeake (NYSE: CHK) to drill it. The mother of one of the victims has already filed a lawsuit against Chesapake Energy.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that a third contractor has died as a result of injuries sustained in last week’s well control incident,” Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer said in a statement at the time of the incident. “Our thoughts and our prayers remain with those impacted. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.”