Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Review - CSB Publishes Well Blowout Incident Report

Yesterday, the Chemical Safety Board published their final report on an oilwell blowout incident that occurred in Burleson County, Texas, on January 29th, 2020. The flash fire that occurred as a result of that blowout killed three workers and injured another. The report identified four key safety issues that contributed to the severity of the incident and made four recommendations that would help prevent the reoccurrence of this type of incident.

The four identified safety issues were:

• Well planning,

• Well control for completed wells in underpressured reservoirs,

• Ignition source management, and

• Federal safety regulatory requirements


The CSB included four recommendations in this report:

• 2020-04-I-TX-1 - Chesapeake Operating, LLC - Develop or revise policies incorporating the recommendations of API RP 59 regarding well planning, specifically the inclusion of well history review in conjunction with workover well control planning,

• 2020-04-I-TX-2 - American Petroleum Institute (API) - Publish specified information in an appropriate document such as API RP 59 Recommended Practice for Well Control Operations,

• 2020-04-I-TX-3 - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – Remove the exemption for oil and gas drilling and well servicing from the Control of Hazardous Energy standard (29 CFR 1910.147) and expand its applicability to cover oil and gas production and workover operations, and

• 2020-04-I-TX-4 - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Promulgate a new standard with prescriptive requirements, similar to the Control of Hazardous Energy Standard, as well as a performance-based safety management system framework, similar to the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard, that applies to the drilling, production, and servicing/workover activities surrounding onshore oil and gas wells.

As a result of this investigation, the CSB is closing 2018-01-I-OK-1 as it is now being superseded by 2020-04-I-TX-3. This now leaves the CSB with 177 open recommendations.


With the publication of this report, the CSB has cleared their backlog of investigations. This has been a long road and it has impeded the ability of the Board to initiate new investigations. There is only one active investigation on the books (BP - Husky Oregon Chemical Release and Fire). It dates back to 2022, so this investigation should be close to done (we hope). It will be interesting to see how aggressive the CSB is in initiating new investigations.


For more details about the investigation report, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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