UPDATE 1-Forbes Energy Services unit was drilling contractor in Chesapeake blast – regulator

(Reuters) – Employees of Alice, Texas-based Forbes Energy Services were among those working at a Chesapeake Energy well in Texas that exploded this week, killing one person and injuring three others, the state’s oil and gas regulator said on Friday.

Chesapeake Energy, Eagle Pressure Control and CC Forbes, a unit of Forbes Energy Services, all had workers at the site when the blast occurred, according to a Texas Railroad Commission report. There were 11 people on the scene in total, the commission said.

The well blowout occurred on Wednesday during a well servicing operation at a remote site near Deanville, Texas, about 75 miles (121 km) east of Austin. Names of the victims have not been disclosed.

Chesapeake and Eagle Pressure Control did not immediately respond to requests for comments. Forbes did not respond to phone calls or emails seeking comment.

The workers were in the process of upgrading the wellhead when a surge of natural gas from the well ignited, prompting the blast. The source of the ignition has not been identified, according the report.

The company plans to remove the rig involved in the incident and secure the well, the inspector wrote on Thursday.

The fatality was the first in Texas involving a well blowout

since April 2013, according to data from the state’s energy regulator. A blowout involves a sudden, high-pressure release of oil or gas from a well.

Three workers suffered burns in Wednesday’s blast and were

airlifted to hospitals in Austin and Houston.

The number of workers in Texas injured during well blowouts

has declined in recent years amid the rise in shale drilling.

Nine workers were injured in blowouts last year, compared

with 14 in 2017 and 21 in 2016, state data showed.

Reporting by Liz Hampton and Gary McWilliams; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler

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