West Texas Oil Field Explosion Kills Two
Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 4, 2014 – Two oil workers were killed in an explosion at an oil well in West Texas.
Amos B. Ortega, 46, and Robert Magdaleno, 41, were killed at a Loving County oilfield on April 30, 2014. Nine other workers were injured. The two deceased were employees of independent contractors of Ameriflow Energy Services for well owner RKI Exploration & Production, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Unfortunately, death and serious injury are not unusual among oil field workers,” said Houston attorney Richard LaGarde, who is not involved in the case. “But we must not simply accept this. Most oilfield explosions are preventable by industry-standard maintenance and safety precautions. It will be up to investigators to determine whether those procedures were properly observed at this well.”
In the weeks following the explosion, its cause remained a mystery to investigators from the Railroad Commission of Texas and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Loving County Sheriff Billy Hopper told the Times he was “dumbfounded” as to what caused the accident, noting that there was no active drilling in progress at the site. He said the individual who first called 911 told the dispatcher that a separator – a device that separates oil from gas as it is pumped – had exploded. But authorities did not find any separators in use at the well. Hopper guessed that a valve had not been closed, which would have allowed gases to build up at high pressure until they exploded through a wellhead.
Loving County is sparsely populated, with some 80 residents, but it contains more than 3,500 oil and natural gas wells. The deaths of Ortega and Magdaleno are the sixth and seventh fatalities of oil workers in the county since 2006.
“As the Houston Chronicle recently reported, the rate of oil field deaths nationwide has risen sharply in recent years,” LaGarde added. “And nearly half of those occur in Texas. We can and should do better.”
LaGarde Law Firm, P.C
3000 Weslayan, Ste. 380
Houston, TX 77027
Phone: (713) 993-0660
Toll Free: 1-866-LAGARDE
LaGarde Law Firm, P.C.
Jason M. Welborn - Of Counsel
617 S. Buchanan Street
PO Box 2053
Lafayette, LA 70501
Phone: (337) 443-4100
Toll Free: 1-866-LAGARDE
- Promoting the Right to Trial by Jury
Mary Pat and I attended the American Board of Advocates’ national meeting in Naples, Florida. Our organization is developing new plans to teach students the importance of the 7th Amendment right to trial by jury.
- Injured pedestrian files lawsuit after being hit by Houston Chief of Police
In September of 2013, while driving a city-issued SUV, Houston Chief of Police Charles McClelland struck and injured a pedestrian who was legally crossing in a crosswalk in downtown Houston. The pedestrian, James Harris, spent a year negotiating with the city for a settlement. But Harris says that the city has yet to make a […]
- Economists Predict Recession for Houston
The Houston Business Journal reports that top economists believe Houston is headed for a recession as a result of declining oil prices. The report cites the last major drop in oil prices in 1986 which led to a regional recession in Texas. Read the full article here. >>
- 419 Lottery Players Join Lawsuit Against GTECH
Four hundred and nineteen lottery players joined an existing lawsuit filed by 520 plaintiffs against GTECH Corporation. In their First Amended Petition filed on January 23rd, the lottery players sued to collect their winnings from the controversial Texas Lottery’s Fun 5’s scratch-off game. The suit alleges that GTECH programmed its computers to reject winning tickets […]
- Oil and Gas Institute created at South Texas College of Law in Houston
The South Texas College of Law/Houston recently announced the launch of the Oil & Gas Law Institute. The goal of the program is to give students comprehensive training in oil and gas law, turning out practice-ready graduates with cutting-edge knowledge of the field. The Institute plans to ensure that graduates are practice-ready by making the […]