Oil well fire out, injured worker leaves hospitalOne of three Cyclone Drilling, Inc. employees who was burned when an oil well exploded July 24 in Golden Valley County was released from the hospital over the weekend, said Patrick Hladky, Cyclone contract manager.
One of three Cyclone Drilling, Inc. employees who was burned when an oil well exploded July 24 in Golden Valley County was released from the hospital over the weekend, said Patrick Hladky, Cyclone contract manager.
“They’re all recovering nicely,” Hladky said. “One was released and one is scheduled for release soon and the third is still recovering in the hospital.”
The oil well burned for several days before it extinguished, said Brian Engel, vice president of public affairs for Continental Resources, which owns the well.
Well fire specialists from Houston-based Wild Well Control Inc. worked to get the fire under control, he said.
“The very first time it went out was the afternoon of the 28th,” he said, adding it then ignited again. “It was a very small fire at the time and apparently it rained and after the rain stopped there was no longer a fire.”
However, flames shot 50 to 60 feet into the air last week when the fire first ignited, Lynn Helms director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission Department of Mineral Resources said in an email last week.
The injured employees were identified as Tim Bergee of Jamestown, Jeff Morton of Watford City, and Andrew Rohr of Marmarth, but Hladky wouldn’t say who was released from the hospital.
“Their families asked me not to, so I’m going to respect that,” Hladky said.
He also could not say how extensive the employees’ injuries were.
“The doctors don’t share a whole lot of information with me,” Hladky said. “I have to get it all from the family.”
Engel said the well has been relit since it extinguished.
“It is relit to eliminate vapors or liquids from accumulating, much like a flare is used for safety,” he said. “It just goes out (on it’s own). There’s just not a big flow there.”
Engel does not know how much oil and gas have escaped the well since it ignited.
“No fluids have escaped the well site,” he said. “It’s been fully contained the whole time.”
It’s too soon to know when work on the oil well will be completed or if the well will be usable, Engel said.
“Work is progressing as planned,” he said. “We’re presently removing the substructure — that’s the area beneath the well-floor. They need to use torches and sheers because the area was burned so badly.”
Engel and Hladky say the cause of the incident is being investigated.
However, last week Helms said “natural gas flowing uncontrolled out of the well was ignited by rig engines or electrical systems.”
The incident occurred while the crew was preparing for fracking, Engel said.
Hladky expects all three employees to eventually return to work.
“Any time we have injury to fellow employees, it’s a blow to the company and we’ll work through it and continue to provide a safe and safer work place for them,” he said.
Cyclone also set up a fund last week for the injured workers.
Donations to the “Friends of the Oilfield Fund” can be made at First National Bank of Gillette, which is located at 319 Gillette Ave., in Gillette, Wyo. The bank can be contacted at 307-686-3300.
“It hasn’t seen a whole lot of activity,” he said. “Some local people have given.”