A flash fire at a "pig receiving station" along a Eureka Hunter pipeline near Wick (Tyler County), WV last Thursday evening seriously injured three people requiring they be airlifted to Pittsburgh. A fourth person was taken to a local hospital. Sadly, one of the seriously injured workers, 56-year-old Bruce Phipps of Marietta, Ohio, died late Friday night. Pipeline Inspection Gauges (or Pigs) are used for pipeline cleaning, inspection and maintenance, and fluid batching in pipelines. A pig is pushed along the inside of a pipeline by the flow of liquid or gas. A pig launching station is used to insert the pig into a pipeline using a series of valves and hatches. The pig is pushed through the pipeline by the liquid or gas stream to the pig receiving station.
It was at such a receiving station where the flash fire occurred. According to news accounts, the flash fire was under control within 15 minutes…
The press announcement issued by Magnum Hunter, parent of subsidiary Eureka Hunter Pipeline, last Friday:
Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation announced today that the Company’s midstream subsidiary, Eureka Hunter Pipeline, LLC, experienced a flash fire yesterday evening at a "pig receiving station" located in Tyler County, West Virginia. The initial reports indicate that the fire was fueled by natural gas liquids that ignited in tanks during pipeline pigging operations, but was limited to above ground facilities. The pipeline did not rupture and, according to initial inspection, was completely unaffected by the fire. The fire was extinguished by local responding fire department personnel.
As a safety precaution, a portion of the Eureka Hunter pipeline system has been shut-in which has in turn affected approximately 2,170 BOEPD of production from wells owned and operated by Triad Hunter, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Magnum Hunter, in the region. These wells will be turned back to production upon finishing the safety inspection and receiving approval of the investigation authorities.
Three people employed by third party contractors were injured as a result of the accident and taken to hospitals. The extent of all of their injuries is unknown at this time. The Company has notified the proper authorities and is investigating the cause of the accident. Additional details will be released as they become available.(1)
The initial news account from last week:
Authorities are investigating the cause of an explosion at a gas well compression site in Tyler County Thursday night after four people suffered injuries.
According to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, at about 7 p.m., Tyler County 911 received a call from a Eureka Hunter employee of an explosion with storage tanks on fire and at least two people injured at the Twin Hickories Road compression station near Wick, W.Va.
Fire and emergency responders were sent to the scene along with the Tyler County Sheriff Deputies. According to a press release, fire units from Shirley, Alma, Middlebourne, Sistersville as well as Saint Mary’s from Pleasants County and Paden City from Wetzel County responded.
According to the release, three people were flown by helicopter to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh. A fourth person was taken to Sistersville General Hospital.
The condition of the victims is unknown.(2)
The AP update from yesterday:
A worker has died from injuries suffered in an accident at a natural gas operation in Tyler County.
The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that 56-year-old Bruce Phipps of Marietta, Ohio, died late Friday night.
Two other workers were injured in Thursday’s accident at a Eureka Hunter Pipeline operation near Wick. The sheriff’s office says it doesn’t have any information on them
Authorities have said the incident was an explosion at a compressor station. But Eureka’s parent, Magnum Hunter Resources, says it was a flash fire at a "pig receiving station." Pigs are devices used to clean out or to inspect pipelines.
Magnum says initial reports indicate that natural gas liquids ignited in tanks during "pigging" operations and fueled the fire.
Magnum says the workers were employed by contractors.(2)
Click the second link below (for State Journal) to view video of the fire.
(1) Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (Apr 12, 2013) – Eureka Hunter Pipeline Reports on Incident Resulting in Flash Fire //www.magnumhunterresources.com/pressreleases.html
(2) Charleston (WV) The State Journal (Apr 11-14, 2013) – Worker Dies From Injuries Suffered in Gas Explosion //www.statejournal.com/story/21949055/firefighters-working-to-subdue-gas-well-explosion-in-tyler-county-eureka-triad-hunter-magnum-hunter-resources-pipeline
Wheeling (WV) The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Apr 13, 2013) – Magnum Hunter Probes Blast //news-register.net/page/content.detail/id/583972/Magnum-Hunter-Probes-Blast.html?nav=515