Well close to production at site of deadly fire and explosion

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission indicates the well that blew up last January killing 5 men near Quinton has been completed.  Spokesman Matt Skinner told the Tulsa World the well is one step from being put into production.

The cause of the deadly explosion and fire remains under investigation and just last week, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board released an initial report on the tragedy.

As for the probe by the Corporation Commission, no violations were found with the well’s blowout preventer, even though two workers claimed they did not work when they attempted to use them the morning of the incident. The case is still open but for pollution aspects of the case. That means some areas of the well site in Pittsburg county have yet to be cleared by state regulators.

Just last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the three companies involved with the well and fined them $118,000. The citations were aimed at Patterson-UTI Drilling Co., Crescent Consulting LLC and SkyLine Directional Drilling LLC. The firms are challenging the actions of OSHA.

The Chemical Safety Board is still probing the fire and what caused it.

“We are looking at potential ignition sources on the rig that may have ignited the gas coming from the well,” said Lauren Grim, lead CSB investigator. “And there are possibilities that we are analyzing and assessing. We do not know at this point if we can pinpoint the actual ignition source. It’s often difficult to do after a major accident like this.”