An oil well operated by Houston-based Mosbacher Energy Company exploded in Mississippi earlier this week, causing work-related injuries to five oil-well employees. The flash fire occurred in Wayne County, northeast of Waynesboro, and is being investigated by Mosbacher and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
The Field Director of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, Allen Floyd, noted that there were no early indications of a rig malfunction that would have led to the oil well explosion. No leak was detected and there was no unusual activity on the rig site before the fire. He also noted that this was the first oil well fire issue that has happened in Mississippi in several years. There are as many as 6,000 active oil wells in the state.
All five workers suffered burns in the oil well explosion, although the extent of the work-related burn injuries is yet unknown. At least two of the oil field workers were released from the hospital shortly after receiving medical treatment. The workers were contractors for Mosbacher.
A pickup truck and a storage tank were destroyed in the oil-well fire. Nearby homes were not threatened by the explosion; no evacuations were deemed necessary.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has also been onsite at the Wayne County rig explosion to investigate the extent of any environmental impact from the blast.
Source: Hattiesburg American, “5 injured in Wayne Co. oil well explosion,” September 17, 2013