Missing worker identified in gas well explosion

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BOBTOWN – Although a spokesman for Chevron declined to answer questions about a contract employee still missing after a Feb. 11 gas well explosion in Dunkard Township, the Times Observer newspaper in Warren identified him as Ian McKee.


John Sanclemente, a senior drilling superintendent with Chevron, said he could not provide information about the missing individual, as this matter is currently under the jurisdiction of the state police in Waynesburg. It was confirmed by police Monday afternoon they are investigating and will issue a statement soon.


According to the Times Observer, a candlelight vigil was held Thursday at Betts Park in Warren for the safe return of McKee, 27, after he went missing following a gas well fire in Greene County. The article said McKee, who was working for Cameron International of Houston, Texas, is originally from Warren, but his most recent address is Morgantown, W.Va.


Two days after the fire at the two wells on Chevron’s Lanco 7H well pad in Dunkard Township was extinguished, the process to complete a water management plan continues, according to Sanclemente. Ten water storage tanks were delivered to the site and installed Friday with additional tanks added Sunday. These tanks will be connected and filled with fresh water for the purpose of cooling the well site and equipment, if necessary, to prevent another fire.


A statement released by Chevron said, “There is not enough fuel being emitted at this time to sustain combustion; and with the cooling of the crane, the ignition source has been removed.”


Sanclemente said the water management plan must be fully in place and the system tested before the company can move forward. A badly damaged crane that became an ignition source at the site remains on the well pad. That crane must also be removed before further well intervention work can commence, according to Chevron.


The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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