A welder died after sparking an explosion while using his torch on a crude oil storage tank at an eastern Utah well site, the state’s largest oil producer told regulators.
Newfield Exploration Co. notified the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining the blast Tuesday night occurred during routine maintenance and killed a contract worker, said Jim Springer, a spokesman for the state agency. Another man remains in the hospital and another ended up treated at the scene.
Killed in the blast was Tyson Boren, 28, of Neola, a welder for Boren Construction Co., said Uintah County sheriff’s Cpl. Brian Fletcher.
Newfield’s well pumper, Rusty Harris, 32, ended up rushed to the hospital where he continues to undergo treatment, Fletcher said. He should recover, the sheriff said.
Fletcher said they were doing some welding on the tank or a valve when the blast occurred near rural Myton, about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City. The tank contained a mix of crude oil and wastewater.
A medical examiner removed Boren’s body Wednesday for an autopsy.
“It’s a tragic event. Our thoughts are with the families,” Newfield spokesman Keith Schmidt said. “We pride ourselves on a safe work environment and will be doing a full assessment of the unit.”
Newfield Exploration Co., based at The Woodlands, Texas, produced 8.5 million barrels of crude oil in Utah during 2012, making it the state’s top producer by far, according to drilling records.
Newfield investigators, the federal Occupational Safety and Health administration, the Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Uintah County Sheriff’s Department are taking part in the investigation, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.