CHEYENNE – Workers who were injured during an explosion at a Laramie County oil and gas field site last year have filed a lawsuit against EOG Resources, arguing the company failed to ensure the safety of those on scene.
The lawsuit, which was filed last month in U.S. District Court, centers on a Dec. 5 explosion in an oilfield compressor station at a well site west of Carpenter, resulting in injuries to three workers on duty. It took about four hours for Laramie County Fire District 4 firefighters, as well as other public safety teams, to douse the flames.
Three workers, all of whom are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, were injured by the explosion and ensuing fire. They were employed with Archrock Services, L.P., and EOG had contracted with them to maintain a natural gas compressor at the well site, according to the complaint.
“EOG oversaw, managed and controlled well-servicing operations at EOG’s well and well site, and retained final decision-making authority over all such operations, including over the critical operational, management, and safety decisions that were proximate causes of the catastrophic accident that is the subject of this action,” states the complaint.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs state EOG was aware that the natural gas-fueled compressor was not functioning properly, but EOG officials “represented to plaintiffs that the well site was safe,” according to the complaint. On the evening of Dec. 5, the three workers were adjusting the compressor’s timing and fuel ratios when an external pipe failed and began leaking gas.
“The pipe failed and caused the explosion because EOG failed to correctly design, install, secure and configure it,” the lawsuit states.
When the explosion occurred, two of the injured workers were inside the building that housed the compressor, while the other was nearby.
“As a proximate result of the explosion and fire, plaintiffs were all thrown to the ground, and suffered severe burns, and other permanent and disabling physical and mental injuries,” states the complaint.
One of them was taken immediately to the Western States Burn Center in Greeley, Colorado, while the other two were initially transported to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
In the lawsuit, the workers are seeking both special and general damages for the December explosion, and they’ve also requested a jury trial.
The lawsuit also lists five “John Does” as additional defendants, describing them as “entities and individuals presently unknown by name to plaintiffs that are believed to have been under the direction and control of Defendant EOG and to have contributed to or caused plaintiffs’ injuries and damages.”
An EOG spokesperson declined to comment due to the ongoing litigation.