Gas well blows in Louisiana, killing worker

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2009 9:52 AM

One worker died and a second was seriously injured when a natural gas well blew Wednesday near the DeSoto Parish village of Grand Cane, sheriff's Lt. Toni Joe Morris said.

He said deputies evacuated about two dozen houses within two miles of the Chesapeake Energy well, which blew about 10:30 a.m.

Names of the dead and injured contract workers were not available.

The well blew during a workover, said Jean Kelly, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality. A Chesapeake news release said the well was undergoing routine maintenance when it blew.

Kelly said Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. was assessing damage Wednesday and expected to begin capping the well on Thursday.

Morris said that because of the escaping gas, rescue workers had to wear protective suits.

The blowout is at least the fourth accident to cause injuries this year at a Chesapeake site.

In January, one worker suffered minor injuries when a gas well blew north of Spring Ridge.

A contract supervisor was killed Feb. 4, when pressurized tubing broke during shutdown.

In April, a contract worker from Wyoming was burned and his leg injured when a natural gas line ruptured while he was testing completion of a well.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Phyllis Darensbourg said the January blowout was one of three statewide before Wednesday. She said Chesapeake had another in May, and a third was of a well belonging to another operator.

She said there are 62,000 active wells in Louisiana.