UPDATE: Explosion at Encana’s Jonah Field Friday injures five, two seriously; Fire now out

North Portal Firefighters sprayed foam on an Encana Natural Gas Sand Mesa Compressor fire earlier this year in north central Fremont County. An explosion at an Encana Sublette County site this morning injured five workers, two seriously.  (file photo)

Special from  SweetwaterNow.com

(Pinedale, Wyo.)  – At 10:18 a.m. on Friday November 22nd the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received multiple calls regarding an explosion in the Jonah Field. It was reported that a tank had exploded at Encana’s Antelope 91-29H facility. Deputies along with Sublette County EMS from Sand Draw, Pinedale and Big Piney immediately went en route. Firefighters from Boulder and Big Piney volunteer fire departments also responded to the scene.

A total of five patients were transported for medical treatment. One subject in critical condition was life-flighted from the scene to the University of Utah Medical Center by Guardian helicopter. Three patients were transported to the Pinedale clinic by ambulance –of those, one was taken by an Air Idaho fixed wing aircraft stationed at the Pinedale airport to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in serious condition. The second was flown to University of Utah Medical Center in stable condition by Guardian fixed wing aircraft. The third patient was treated at the Pinedale clinic and released. One patient was taken by ambulance from the scene of the explosion to the Rock Springs hospital in stable condition.

Big Piney and Boulder fire departments have the fire contained and are allowing it to burn out. The incident will be investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Encana released this statement about the incident:

(November 22, 2013) At 10:15 a.m. on November 22, 2013, a fire occurred at Encana’s Antelope 91-29H Facility in the Jonah Field, off of Luman Road, approximately 35 miles south of Pinedale, Wyo.

At this time, we can confirm that five individuals were injured. They were all contractors. One has been airlifted off of location and the others have been taken to nearby hospitals. The names and conditions of these individuals are not known at this time.

The fire was extinguished at approximately 1:00 p.m. and the facility has been contained according to our emergency response procedures.

We know that some welding work was being conducted on the condensate tanks on location, however the exact reason for the fire is not known at this time. We will work with the appropriate agencies to determine the exact cause.

A drilling rig is operating near the facility where the incident occurred, however, the rig was not impacted.

Our thoughts are with the individuals that were hurt today and their families.

–Encana Natural Gas

To see other stories on this incident, click here.

3 Comments

  1. Ozzy Ezell

    By slapping the label contract workers on the welders working on EnCana's unsafe site, the company has opened itself to huge negligence lawsuits. There are these things called explosion meters or "sniifers" that can tell how much of a danger the air around the work site exists. I doubt there was any kind of explosion meter on site.

  2. Victoria Hermansen

    Prior to working in any Class1 Div1 or Class1 Div2 environment one MUST evaluate the atmosphere for Lower Explosive Levels (LEL). This MUST be less than 10% of the lower explosive level prior to performing any Hot Work. This is in fact accomplished through gas monitoring with a calibrated air monitoring device such as an ITX Four Gas Monitor. Once the initial gas testing is performed continuous monitoring must be done and documented. Knowing changing conditions in the work environment is essential. If the contractor did not have the equipment or the training to conduct work safety then we were taking a short cut so was the issuing authority! It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a contractor or owner. There are Codes of Federal Regulation governing this type of work activity and when followed this task can be done safety!
    This is really about Safety Culture and Values. It is time we all stand up for safety in our work site!
    Alaska Oil & Gas Safety Specialist
    Victoria

  3. Ozzy Ezell

    That's kind of what I said. However, what I was really getting at was the well owner pinched pennies by not paying for workers compensation and SSI on the welders. Now it comes back to bite the company with legal liability for the safety of the workers. They are now wide open for negligence lawsuit by the welders for unsafe conditions. They have no safe harbor of workers compensation claims to avoid liability. And yes, an inspector should have been monitoring the hot work site with an explosion meter to observe changing conditions. It is hard to monitor a sniffer with your welding hood down while you are welding.

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