Oil workers suffer burns in blast

CALGARY - Three GASFRAC Energy Services Inc. employees were transported to an Alberta hospital with burn injuries following an explosion and fire on January 14.

At about 5:30 pm, the employees of the Calgary company were performing gas fracturing - a process that stimulates the production of oil and gas - on a wellsite near Edson, Alberta, when a fire broke out, says Barrie Harrison, a spokesperson for Alberta Employment and Immigration in Edmonton. The site is owned by prime contractor Husky Energy Inc.

The propane leak was quickly contained, although the resulting fire damaged the back end of two fracturing pumpers, reports James Hill, chief financial officer of GASFRAC.

Of the employees who suffered burn injuries, two were released from hospital and the third remained with second-degree burns to his hands, Hill notes.

As a precautionary measure, "GASFRAC has suspended operations until the root cause of the leak has been identified and necessary corrective actions initiated," notes a company statement.

Harrison said following the incident that two orders had been issued: a stop-work order to Husky Energy for work at the site; and a stop-work order to GASFRAC for its gas fracturing equipment.

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