Five workers were injured in an explosion at an Encana Oil & Gas operated storage facility in the Jonah Basin Gas Field 55 km south of Pinedale in Sublette County, Wyoming, at slightly before 10.20 am local time (slightly before 7.20 pm GMT) on Friday 22 November 2013. One was airlifted to the University of Utah Medical Center by helicopter in what is described as a critical condition. Three were taken by ambulance to Pinedale Clinic, from where one was flown to the University of Utah Medical Center and another was airlifted to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, while the third was treated and discharged. The final worker was taken from the scene of the accident to the Rock Springs Hospital, according to the Sublette County Sheriff's Department.
Areal photograph of the Jonah Basin Gas Field. A Land Out Of Time.
The precise cause of the incident is not clear at this time, though it is understood that maintenance work involving welding was being undertaken at the site prior to the incident The blaze was brought under control by firefighters and allowed to burn out, subsiding by 1.00 pm local time. A nearby drilling rig was unaffected by the incident.An investigation into the cause of the incident will now be carried out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Jonah Basin Gas Field has been in operation since the mid-1990s. It is considered to be one of the US's richest shale gas fields, containing (at the time of discovery) around 300 000 million m³ of gas beneath a surface area of 85 km³. The gas is trapped within a series of stacked lenticular deposits of fluvial (river) origin, between about 1.5 and 2.5 km beneath the surface, and is obtained by using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to break up the shale beds in which the shale beds in which the gas is held.
The approximate location of the 22 November 2013 Sublette County gas explosion. Google Maps.