Owner of Well In Friday's Fatal Accident Accused Of Negligence In Past Rig Blowout 4/10/13
CBS 7 News
April 10, 2013
We still don't know what caused the accident that blew four men off of an Anadarko well on Friday that left two men dead and two others in the hospital.
But we do know that Anadarko has seen dangerous well blowouts in the past.
Court documents out of Ward County reference an April 2010 accident when an Anadarko well released a toxic gas. The documents say there were at least four blowouts before it -- and say that it could have been prevented if Anadarko had used blowout prevention equipment properly.
"Anadarko knows better, and should've had that equipment on site and installed and deployed for protection of the workers on site," said Attorney J. Christopher Dean of Dean Law Firm in Houston. Their firm is handling the April 2010 litigation.
And this case is not the only one -- the ward county district clerk says at least 5 lawsuits name Anadarko as a defendant in the last few years. The company told us it operates at least 200 wells across the area.
We asked Anadarko, who own the Petroleum Lease, about Friday’s fatal accident--this is what they had to say.
"We are so saddened by this tragic event and the loss of two contractors,” according to a statement by John Christiansen, Executive Director of Communication for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. “We want answers as much as anyone and will conduct a full review based on OSHA's findings, as well as our own internal review, to determine appropriate future actions to enhance safety for our workers and contractors.”
Anadarko did not respond to questions about pending litigation--nor did they answer how many oil well blowouts they have had in the past.
According to the Texas Railroad Commission--there have been only four blowouts in Ward County since 2000, but Dean says the incidents are under-reported.
“The operators—the Anadarkos of the world that are operating in West Texas sometimes and often do not report the extent of the blowout that they experienced on the wells,” dean said.