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Worker Identified in Fatal Ohio Blast

An electrical subcontractor killed Thursday in an explosion and subsequent fire at a condensate pumping skid owned and operated by Blue Racer Midstream LLC has been identified as Norman Butler, 48, of Virginia, by local authorities in Noble County, OH, where the blast occurred (see Shale DailyNov. 13).

His identity was released late Thursday by the Noble County Sheriff's Office after notification of family members. Butler was testing and calibrating electrical components on the pump for his employer, Texas-based Buffalo Gap Instrumentation & Electrical Co. Inc., which confirmed his affiliation with local news media.

Noble County Sheriff Stephen Hannum said in a statement that although the fire was small, it was dangerous. It burned throughout the day, but has since been extinguished, Blue Racer spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric told NGI's Shale Daily on Friday. No other injuries were reported.

The explosion occurred at 4:15 p.m. Thursday near a non-operational Consol Energy Inc. well site in Marion Township in the southeast part of the state. Consol said none of its employees were hurt, and Blue Racer was forced to act quickly by shutting-in all area pipelines and producing wells. Blue Racer is working with authorities to determine what caused the explosion, and Nikoloric said early Friday that the company had no new developments to report.

State regulators said the site is in a heavily wooded area that's home to a number of other natural gas and coal operations. No environmental damage was recorded, they said. The state fire marshal's office is on scene investigating the incident, along with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The incident in Ohio came on the same day a worker was killed and two others hospitalized after an accident at an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. site in Weld County, CO (see related story). The men were working for Halliburton to heat a frozen high-pressure water line in zero-degree weather when it ruptured, killing the unidentified worker on impact, according to local authorities.

In Ohio, Thursday's explosion was the latest in a string of fatal accidents and emergencies over the last 10 months at well sites across the Appalachian Basin (see Shale DailyOct. 29June 30April 7Feb. 11).

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