June 13, 2019 — Federal safety investigators have released their final report on what caused a deadly rig explosion in Quinton, Oklahoma that killed 5 workers in January 2018.
Lauren Grim, lead investigator with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, said “the immediate cause of the blowout and rig fire was the failure of both barriers that should have been in place during the operations leading to the blowout.”
Other factors that led up to the explosion were long in the making. In the day before the explosion, “a flow check was not performed,” Grim added. Flow checks determine if gas or other fluids have entered the well.
Though the well was under-balanced with gas, drilling continued into the next day. During that time, barrels and barrels of gas flowed into the under-balanced well.
The Chemical Safety Board is now calling on Patterson-UTI Drilling and Red Mountain Energy to make some changes when it comes to safety procedures.
A safety management system needs to be in place. A plan needs to be in place and these barriers that we talked about need to be in place for both the release and also protect the workers.”
The rig crew had drilled to about 13,500 feet when an uncontrolled release of gas caused a massive explosion during the tripping-out process. Two of the victims died in the doghouse on top of the drilling rig.
Lawsuits have been filed by the family members of all 5 workers who died. The victims were Matt Smith, 29; Josh Ray, 35; Cody Risk, 26; Parker Waldridge, 60; and Roger Cunningham, 55.
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