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Blast and fire at Utah wellhead kills contractor

09 May 2013

An explosion and fire has killed one man and injured two others at an eastern Utah oil well on May 8. The deceased was a contract welder carrying out routine maintenance operations at the site. The blast was at a tank next to Newfield Exploration Co.’s Odekirk 436-817 oil well.

Along with Newfield investigators, the explosion will be probed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Uintah County Sheriff’s Department.

The fire ignited by the blast did not burn the well drilling equipment but was contained in the nearby 400-gallon holding tank containing crude oil.

Texas-based Newfield Exploration is the leading player in eastern Utah’s petroleum development industry. As of late 2012, the company had invested more than $1.7 billion in its Utah holdings. The company has more than 230,000 acres with wells that are operational or under development.

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