Cook Inlet oil platform back in production after fire

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Cook Inlet oil platform damaged by a fire that injured four workers is pumping oil again, according to co-owner Unocal Corp.

The King Salmon platform came back on line about 9 a.m. Monday, said Unocal spokeswoman Roxanne Sinz. She said production would return to normal, about 7,000 barrels daily, over the next two weeks.

Safety investigators from various state and federal agencies, as well as Unocal itself, are looking into the cause of the fire, which broke out April 20.

Four contract workers on the platform were injured. Three were treated at Alaska hospitals and released within a day of the blaze, but one was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of burns on his hand and face, according to Unocal, which did not identify the injured workers.

There were 52 workers on the 200-by-200-foot platform in Trading Bay when the fire broke out, and two thirds of them were evacuated. It took about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire.

The fire occurred when a stream of natural gas ignited as contract workers were pulling two miles of well tubing to install a new oil pump.

The platform, which sits in 110 feet of water roughly across the inlet from Nikiski, has 16 active wells. Unocal owns 53 percent of the platform and Forest Oil Corp. owns the rest.

The fire was the first serious blaze on an Inlet platform since 1987, when a natural gas blowout at the nearby Steelhead Platform burned uncontrolled for a week.

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