Oil regulator oversees investigation - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Oil regulator oversees investigation

Source: MEMA Source: MEMA
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The investigation into an oil well explosion in Smith County continues. Currently crews are preparing the site, to put out a fire that has been burning for over 24 hours now. That could take several days to extinguish according to experts.

The Mississippi Oil and Gas Board is now leading the investigation into what went wrong at this Pan Southern Petroleum oil well, after it blew out Monday morning. Five people were working on the site when the blast happened but there were no injuries.

The Oil and Gas Board  regulates nearly 8 thousand wells scattered around the state, routinely checked by a team of inspectors.

"So when inspectors go out there, they'll be looking for leaks or they'll be looking for equipment that looks like it might be suspect," said Field Director Allen Floyd. "Anything that might be a fire hazard, anything that could be construed as a possible danger to public safety."

Floyd says there have been 4 oil well blowouts in the last 5 years, but there hasn't been a death since the late 60's.

"More times than not it's a mechanical failure, it's either a failure of the equipment," said Floyd. "Most of the time it's going to be a combination of well conditions and malfunction of equipment." 

Oil and gas board officials say the safety records of the drilling rigs are very good, and Mississippian's can help keep it that way.

"Every oil field facility that is regulated by the oil and gas board has to be identified by the operator of the well with a sign, with emergency phone numbers, so the public should know if they ever see anything suspect, the can call the emergency number," added Floyd.

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