Sixteen injured in natural gas well explosion

ROBB — As many as 16 people were hurt in an explosion and fire at a natural gas well in Alberta on Monday.

ROBB — As many as 16 people were hurt in an explosion and fire at a natural gas well in Alberta on Monday.

RCMP said two of the people were flown by air ambulance to hospital.

The extent of the injuries wasn’t released, but it’s believed at least eight of the workers suffered burns.

The blast ripped through a Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) well near Robb, Alta., around 11:30 a.m.

“Contractors were working on the well. It was a fire that produced injuries to workers at the well,” said Husky spokesman Graham White. “The fire was quickly contained and extinguished. Initial reports are the injuries are non-life threatening.”

White said the facility produced what the industry calls “sweet gas” — natural gas that does not contain deadly hydrogen sulfide.

The employees were injecting a substance into the well to try to produce more natural gas before the explosion, he said.

There was an unconfirmed report that the fire may have been sparked by a propane leak.

The employees do not work directly for Husky Energy. The name of the company that employs them was not available.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, the Energy Resources Conservation Board and Husky Energy were investigating.

The well was shut down.