Drillers apparently were trying to fix some problems with a new natural gas well in western Palo Pinto County, TX early Friday when the ground exploded, sending up a fireball seen 100 miles away. Only one person was slightly injured, according to a spokeswoman for the Texas Railroad Commission.
The well was operated by Fort Worth-based Telesis Operating Co. Inc., which had contracted with another company, Sand Dollar Drilling, said Ramona Nye, a commission spokeswoman. Telesis, which had no comment, was planning to issue a statement about the incident.
Following the blast, which left a huge crater, a grass fire burned at least 50 acres by midday Friday in a rural, sparsely populated community about five miles south of Possum Kingdom Lake. Aerial tankers were summoned from the Texas Forest Service to help extinguish the blaze.
Nye said it was a new gas well, and the workers experienced a "gas kick," which sent gas into the well bore. "Generally, gas is kept in formation by drilling mud, but sometimes they hit a gas pocket with higher pressure than their mud."
She said Telesis contacted the commission, which it was required to do, and a commission field inspector was with the drillers late Thursday into early Friday morning as they worked to bring the well under control. However, she said at about 1:45 a.m., the ground erupted.
Nye said the nearby gas pipelines were shut down temporarily until the blast was under control.
Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report
may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any
form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.