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Oil rig explosion near Marshall in north central Oklahoma was caused by blowout, company attorney says

Officials are looking into what caused a drilling rig to explode Friday night, injuring four workers in northwest Logan County near Marshall.
BY TIFFANY GIBSON Published: January 25, 2012

MARSHALL — An oil rig explosion that injured four El Dorado Drilling Co. workers in Logan County was caused by a blowout on a drilling rig, a company attorney said Tuesday.

Kirkpatrick Oil Co. is the operator of the oil well that was being drilled. The company's attorney, Jeremy Fitzpatrick, said a blowout occurs when oil or gas escapes from the well during drilling, rises to the surface and sometimes ignites.

He said in Friday's explosion, the substance ignited and started a fire, injuring four workers.

The exact location of the site has not been disclosed and details were not released on how badly the workers were injured.

“That's absolutely priority No. 1 for us, is that we monitor their well-being,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that he couldn't comment further on their medical conditions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the Friday evening explosion.

El Dorado Drilling Co. officials did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment about the incident.

The rig involved in the explosion sustained extensive damage and the fire that began Friday continued to burn through Saturday. The blaze was finally put out Saturday night, Fitzpatrick said.

“Our hope is that these four injured workers are able to recover quickly, and our secondary hope is to be able to salvage the well,” he said.

“It's a dangerous job and unfortunately these types of things happen, and no one likes when it does.”


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