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Cause Identified for EOG NatGas Tank Fire

On a preliminary basis, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that an electric arc may have sparked a flash fire that killed a maintenance worker at a natural gas storage tank in Wyoming. Investigations continued at the site on Friday.

EOG Resources Inc, owner/operator of the tank in the western part of the state near Opal, said Friday it had no updates since the Sept. 23 accident.

The incident, first reported as an explosion, occurred in a desert region about 30 miles northwest of Green River, WY (see Daily GPI, Sept. 24).

An OSHA spokesperson told NGI on Friday that "a flash fire may have been started by static electricity during cleanup operations that were in progress involving a crew of two EOG employees and two contract workers.

A preliminary report from on-site investigators, also said "some of the individuals were not wearing fire-resistant clothing." EOG would not confirm or deny this.

"This is preliminary information and the investigation into the incident has just begun," the Wyoming-based OSHA spokesperson said. "That is all of the information I have at the moment."

There has been no indication the extensive natural gas operations in and around the Opal Hub have been impacted by the incident. On Wednesday, a Tulsa-based spokesperson with Williams Partners LP, which has substantial pipeline and gas processing facilities in the area, told NGI that the company's Wyoming operations had been unaffected by the EOG tank incident.

Earlier this year, in the area around the gas hub, an explosion and fire knocked out a Williams processing plant, causing the re-routing of nearly 1 Bcf/d of natural gas flowing from the large concentration of gas production wells in the Jonah/Pinedale and Greater Green River basins (see Daily GPI, April 24).

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