Federal Investigators Point to Blowout Preventer and Inexperience in Fatal Oklahoma Oil Field Explosion

oil field explosion

In a preliminary report on the fatal Oklahoma oil field explosion that killed five workers last January, federal investigators have suggested that a combination of inexperience and the failure of a blowout preventer were likely at fault.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board revealed that they found that immediately before the explosion, more than 100 barrels of drilling fluid poured out of the natural gas well.

The standard level that triggers an alarm at oil and gas operations is just five to ten barrels of the outflow mud, making investigators believe that natural gas had flooded the well.

The drilling fluid that appeared before the oil field explosion is pumped into drill pipes while they are operating so that they can cool down the drill bit and prevent gas from escaping.

The investigators say that 107 barrels of the substance flowed into the pits in less than an hour the morning of the explosion. They came out of the blowout preventer, which is there to prevent explosions, and by the time the workers noticed and acted upon the surge, it was too late.

The explosion followed shortly afterward, though the source of the explosion and fire has yet to be determined.

Workers Knew an Oil Field Explosion Was Imminent

The chief investigator of a consulting firm assigned to the oil field explosion says that workers were well aware of the need for haste: the supervisor overseeing the site called to the site. However, Brian Dunagan of the Houston safety and fire consultant IFO Group also said that it was apparent that lack of experience played a part in the explosion.

The investigation into the oil field explosion is still in its early phases and is expected to go on for several more months. Five workers were killed in the incident, making it the deadliest oil and gas industry in the United States since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.