• Featured Oilfield News

    Quinton Gas Well Drilling Company Knew Rig Was Unsafe Before Blowout, Fire That Killed Five, Amended Lawsuit Claims

    A “cascade of errors and multiple departures from safe drilling practices” primed the gas well near Quinton for a blowout, with vital safety equipment known to be in disrepair that could have prevented the deaths of five workers, according to a recent court filing.

    Quinton Oklahoma rig explosion that claimed lives of 5 workersMore than 1,000 alarms allegedly were triggered on the rig during a 10-hour period in January, with nearly 100 of them indicating a problem with control of the well. But the alarms purportedly had been disabled, and no one heard them.

    A lawsuit, amended for a second time Dec. 4, alleges that the drilling company didn’t act upon its own documents that indicated a crucial safety device to close the well in an emergency was in “severe disrepair.”

    Two related lawsuits were updated in October, centering on accusations that the well operator disregarded “proven and successful” drilling programs in favor of a more lucrative but risky plan.

    The drilling company is Patterson-UTI Drilling, which was contracted by Red Mountain Energy, the well’s owner. In addition to those two companies, National Oilwell Varco and Crescent Consulting are listed as defendants in each lawsuit.

    The latest amended lawsuit centers on accusations that Patterson-UTI engaged in unsafe drilling practices and ignored established protocols during an overnight operation to pull drill pipe from the well and replace the bottom-hole assembly.

    The day crew “inherited a ticking time bomb” after natural gas flowed into the well during the pipe-removal process, according to the lawsuit.

    “Patterson Drilling had the most direct control over the drilling operations and emergency response to changing conditions and failed to use ordinary care with respect to its conduct,” the lawsuit alleges.


    Ohio-Oilfield Death Ruled Accidental After Autopsy

    An autopsy conducted at the Licking County Coroner’s Office has confirmed David M. Vernot, 52, suffered a fatal chest injury Tuesday morning when a 3,000-pound pipe rolled off a trailer at an oil and gas well site on Oxford Road and struck him where he stood next to the trailer. 

    Guernsey County Ohio Oilfield Accident Claims Life“The death has been ruled accidental,” said Guernsey County Coroner Dr. Sandra Schubert. “The cause of death was a crushing injury to his chest.” 

    The full autopsy report will not be available for several weeks. 

    The Pennsylvania resident was pronounced dead at Southeastern Med where he was transported by emergency medical personnel. First responders from the Old Washington and Quaker City volunteer fire departments, United Ambulance and Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene. 

    Emergency medical personnel joined forces to transport Vernot to the Cambridge hospital. 

    Guernsey County Sheriff Jeff Paden said an investigation revealed the pipe rolled from the trailer, but a forklift was not being used to unload the pipe at the time of the accident. The sheriff corrected his previous statement indicating a forklift was in use when the accident occurred at approximately 11:12 a.m. 


    Oil And Gas Boom In Permian Basin Boosts Local Charities

    With the recent oil and gas boom in the Permian Basin, charities are seeing an increase in donations from some of the oil companies that have come in, but the number of clients being served is also increasing as many workers can't afford rent and are looking for other help.

    United Way Helps in Permian BasinThe boom began in about mid-2017, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported. It led to a dramatic influx of workers into the area, increasing housing demands and causing housing costs to spike, according to Linda Dodd, executive director of the United Way of Carlsbad and South Eddy County.

    "We still have some families that are living in their vehicles," Dodd said. "We know the places in Carlsbad are too expensive."

    The United Way gathers donations and distributes them to other charities in the area, including local soup kitchens, clothing drives and shelters.

    It also helps connect those in need with the services.

    But there's no denying the impact oil and gas has had on local charities.

    Dodd said United Way's goal for this year was $650,000 in available funding, and it is already at 69 percent.

    In 2017, when the boom first struck, donations from oil and gas companies totaled around $72,000 by the end of the year.

    By November 2018, the industry provided $64,000.


    Iraqi Security Prevents Protesters From Storming Oilfield

    Iraqi security forces yesterday prevented dozens of demonstrators from storming the major oilfield of West Qurna 2 in the country’s southern province of Basra.

    Iraqi security forces deploy military equipment after taking control of Altun Kopru village of Kirkuk Iraq on 20 October 2017“Dozens of unemployed demonstrators attempted to storm the outer fence of the field [West Qurna 2] north of Basra,” Army Lieutenant Mohamed Khalaf told Anadolu Agency.

    Khalaf explained that the security forces in charge of protecting the oilfield “fired warning shots in the air to prevent the demonstrators from storming the facility.”

    “Security forces are authorised to deal firmly against any attempts to damage the oil installations,” he stressed.

    West Qurna 2 – managed by Russia’s Lukoil – produces 400,000 barrels of oil per day. Lukoil is yet to provide details on the impact the incident on the field’s production.


    Companies Settle With Paralyzed Oilfield Worker for $44M

    An oilfield worker who was rendered quadriplegic after a light fixture improperly attached to an oil derrick fell more than 100 feet onto his head has settled his claims against five companies for a total of $44 million.

    An oilfield worker who was rendered quadriplegic after a light fixture improperly attached to an oil derrick fell more than 100 feet onto his head has settled his claims against five companies for a total of 44 million.The multimillion-dollar award is meant to compensate the injured plaintiff, James Burgess, and his wife, Kay Sharon Burgess, who live in rural Texas. The case, which was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, came to a settlement after two days of mediation before retired federal magistrate Judge Diane Welsh.

    “Mrs. Burgess’s loss of consortium claim was probably the most significant consortium claim anyone in the case had ever encountered,” Sheridan & Murray attorney Thomas Sheridan, who represented the Burgesses, said. “Her husband is in a hospital over 90 miles away from her house. She drove to the hospital every day for the last six years to see her husband.”

    According to court papers, James Burgess was working on a drill rig owned and operated by Patterson Drilling Services in December 2012. A four-foot LED light designed by Dialight fell 103 feet onto Burgess’ head, causing a neck fracture that compressed his spinal cord and rendered him permanently quadriplegic.


    Texas-Man Killed When Cables Snapped At Denton County Drilling Site

    Officials found a 52-year-old man dead at a Denton County drilling site Wednesday morning, apparently killed when cables broke and struck him.

    Texas Man Killed in Oilfield AccidentLouis Earl Goodman was found dead at a gas well about 4 miles west of Ponder at 10:35 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

    Investigators from the Denton County Sheriff's Office believe Goodman's death was a tragic accident, according to a spokeswoman.

    Authorities believe cables at the site broke and struck Goodman sometime before Wednesday morning, Denton County Emergency Services Assistant Chief Roland Asebedo told the Denton Record-Chronicle.

    Goodman was from Bryson, about 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

    Source: Dallas News     


    Parents Of Man Killed In Oilfield H2S Accident Dismayed After Charge Dismissed

    The parents of a Wawota, Sask., man killed in an oilfield accident more than four years ago say they are “disappointed” by a provincial court judge’s decision to dismiss a workplace safety charge laid against his employer after his death.

    The courthouse in Estevan Sask.“It’s a real disappointment … It was just such a letdown,” Dianne Bunz said.

    “I was disappointed but not surprised — just put it that way,” Allan Bunz said.

    Michael Bunz died on May 22, 2014, near Kipling, Sask., while collecting samples from a facility owned by Harvest Energy Corp. A valve failed, releasing a “deadly, uncontrolled, high-pressure stream” of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas, according to court documents.

    The 38-year-old’s employer, Nalco Champion, was subsequently hit with three workplace safety charges. Two were withdrawn during the trial, and Estevan provincial court judge Lane Wiegers dismissed the last in a written decision handed down earlier this month.

    While a respirator may have saved Bunz’s life, the H2S release “was not reasonably expected” and there “was no better practical means than was used by Nalco to prevent an H2S exposure beyond the contamination limit,” Wiegers concluded.


    Without Enough Oil Workers, Thousands Of Permian Basin Wells May Sit Idle In 2019

    Ryan Byrd worked five years in oilfields from China to West Texas. But after the worst price rout in a generation left him jobless, he's not ready to jump back into the mix.

    Permian Basin JobsNow working at a jail in Huntsville, Texas, the 33-year-old Byrd is happy to have a job that won't disappear under him. His advice to others looking to the oil patch for fat checks: "Just be prepared to one day wake up, go to work and find that the job is not there."

    Welcome to the next big Permian Basin bottleneck. A pipeline shortage slowed output this year, leading to a record 3,722 drilled-but-never-opened wells. But three major conduits set to open in 2019 are expected to solve that. The newest snag: Finding hundreds of workers over the next 18 months to open those wells, at a time when the firing of 440,000 workers between 2014 and 2016 remains a fresh and painful memory.

    "It's a huge concern for 2019," said James Wicklund, a Credit Suisse Group AG analyst in Dallas. "It's frankly today a bigger concern than oil prices, because oil prices are fine where they are. The availability of labor is not."

    By the time the new pipelines are fully in service, potentially adding more than 2 million barrels a day of capacity, the number of unfracked wells could reach 7,000, according to the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based consultant Spears & Associates.


    Veracruz, Mexico Oilman Falls from Platform and Dies

    Reymundo Martínez Tirado made a bad maneuver and fell into the sea at a height of around 15 meters.

    Veracruz Mexico Oilman Falls from Platform and DiesA citizen of Agua Dulce, Veracruz loses his life when he was working on the maritime platform called “Nohoch-Alfa” in the Sonda de Campeche on Monday, November 6.

    Information provided by the authorities of the City of Campeche indicate that the worker who in life responded to the name of Reymundo Martínez Tirado, had his home in the street Emiliano Zapata was performing in the work area, but due to a miscalculated maneuver fell to the sea of a height around 15 meters.

    His companions who saw the moment of the accident threw themselves into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, to try to rescue him but they could not do anything because he had already died.

    The body was rescued by security personnel of the platform and awaiting the staff of the Prosecutor’s Office and ministerial agents, who after carrying out the corresponding proceedings were transferred to the City of Carmen, Campeche to practice the necropsy of the law.


    Suspect Admits To Stabbing Deaths Of Man, Woman At Alberta Oilfield Work Camp

    Kyle Warnke woke to the sound of screams.

    The burned out kitchen area of the work camp near Fox Creek Alta. where two employees were stabbed and murdered. A yellowhandled knife is police exhibit 23 found near the sink.It was just before 1 a.m. on June 30, 2015, at an isolated oilfield work camp in northern Alberta.

    Warnke heard camp worker Hally Dubois plead, "Danny, stop. Danny, stop."

    He peeked into the hallway and saw Dubois kneeling on the floor. Further down the hallway, he spotted piles of blood-stained blankets.

    Warnke locked his bedroom door and pushed a couch in front to serve as an extra barricade. When he looked out his window, the scene was even more horrifying.


    Roustabout, Injured On Oil Rig, Seeks More Than $1 Million In Damages

    A crew member is suing Key Energy Services, Moncla Cos., et al., oil rig operators, citing alleged negligence and an unsafe work environment.

    Roustabout injured on oil rig seeks more than 1 million in damagesLou Henry filed a complaint on Oct. 4, in the Harris County District Court, alleging the defendants failed to provide a seaworthy vessel.

    According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on June 3, he was a roustabout member of the crew working aboard defendants' Rig 103, an oil rig, when he allegedly was ordered to break well pins without adequate equipment. He allegedly was forced back on the handrail, flipped over, fell on the deck below and landed on his wrist. 

    He sustained severe injuries to his back and wrist, allegedly resulting in mental anguish, lost of earnings, disfigurement and medical expenses. 


    Colorado-3 Hurt In Weld County Oil Tank Battery Fire

    The Weld County Sheriff’s Office responded to an oil tank battery fire near Highway 14 and Weld County Road 83 near Briggsdale. Three crew members were hurt; one of them suffered severe burns and had to be flown to North Colorado Medical Center.

    Three Hurt In Tank Battery FireInvestigators say immediate details show the fire started during maintenance operations. The fire is now out.

    Officials say there is no obvious cause, but the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will take over the investigation. Officials describe the fire as an industrial accident.

    Debris could be seen strewn across the field from Copter4. It appears the lid of one oil tank flew about 100 yards from the site.

    A truck belonging to a company called Element Services was on at the scene. However, officials with Mallard Exploration say the new construction site belongs to them. The workers, however, are contractors.

    “This 10-acre site is located east of Briggsdale in rural Weld County. There are no producing wells currently at this location. While one of the contractors was working on an out-of-service storage tank, sparks from a power tool ignited some residual oil and vapor inside the tank. The contractor suffered burns and was airlifted to hospital. Two other contractors were taken to hospital by ambulance with minor injuries. We are currently informed none of the injuries are considered life threatening,” Mallard Exploration said in an email statement.


    Texas- Two Workers Hospitalized After Rig Floor Collapses

    Two people seriously injured in oil rig accident north of Silsbee in Hardin CountyTwo people were taken to the hospital after an oil rig accident in Hardin County.

    Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis said the rig floor collapsed off Highway 92 near Airline Road which is 5 miles north of Silsbee.

    The call came in at about 9:15 p.m. as a reported entrapment and three workers were reported injured.

    A medical helicopter and ambulance responded around 9:20 p.m.

    Both of the victims are in stable condition at the hospital.


    Someone claiming to be a brother to one of the victims  says his brother lost his foot. he claims the cause of the accident was, "...they were going in the hole and the driller was on his phone and wasn't paying attention and crowned it out broke the drill line and it came and seen them something it could have been prevented"



    Man Dead, Another Injured After Well Site Explosion In Grande Prairie

    One man is dead following an explosion at a well site in northern Alberta.

    Emergency crews and RCMP were called to the scene of a well site explosion south of Grande Prairie near Musreau Lake on Tuesday Oct. 23.RCMP Const. Melanie McIntosh says initial reports indicate a gas leak caused the explosion south of Grande Prairie near Musreau Lake on Tuesday night.

    A 50-year-old worker died at the scene and a second man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A third man was not hurt.

    "All three were working in the area at the time of the incident," McIntosh said Wednesday.

    She added that the gas leak had been contained.

    A spokesman for Mojek Resources, an oil and gas producer based in Calgary, said the death happened at the company's well site.


    Battle for Mexico’s Oro Negro Heats Up as Creditors Attempt to Seize Oil Rigs

    The battle for control over bankrupt Mexican oil-drilling company Oro Negro turned ugly over the weekend, as attorneys for the company’s creditors, escorted by Mexican federal police officers, flew in helicopters to Oro Negro’s five drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and attempted to seize control of them, setting up a tense standoff that continued Monday.

    An Oro Negro oil drilling rig operated by Petroleos Mexicans (Pemex) in 2014. Attorneys for the company’s creditors this past weekend flew in helicopters to one of Oro Negro’s drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and attempted to seize them.On Friday, a criminal court judge in Mexico City ruled the rigs must be handed over to the bondholders.

    Mexico City prosecutors have been investigating Oro Negro, an embattled oil-services firm led Gonzalo Gil, the son of Mexico’s former finance minister, for fraud, according to disclosures Oro Negro made in a New York bankruptcy court last week.

    Ricardo Contreras, a lawyer representing the creditors group, on Sunday flew out over the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico with the police officers, attempting to enforce the judge’s order. He managed to land on just one of the drilling platforms, known as Decus, after workers placed obstacles on the heliports of the others, according to videos of the incident and both sides’ accounts.

    “A criminal judge ordered restitution of the rigs and ordered federal authorities to assist in those orders. It’s that simple,” said Paul Leand, a New York investor who heads the ad hoc committee of Oro Negro bondholders, an oversight body. “At the end of the day, we have no interest in holding on to these rigs. What we’re interested in is protecting and securing our collateral.”