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Oilfield explosion leads to man's death

February 8, 2012

GARDEN CITY, Texas — A Harlingen man was killed Tuesday afternoon when a high-pressure line on the oil well he was working on southwest of Garden City exploded, releasing water and acid, according to law enforcement officials.

Noe Cabriales, 51, of Harlingen, was pronounced dead at the scene by Glasscock County Justice of the Peace Kay Donna Machicek shortly after 12:30 p.m. at an oil well being operated by Laredo Petroleum Inc.
According to Glasscock County Sheriff Keith Burnett, Cabriales was employed by Great White Pressure Pumping at the time of the accident, which happened at an oil well site on County Road 125, southwest of Garden City.

“The victim and 11 other employees were fracking the well when the accident occurred,” Burnett said. “They were running acid and water down into the well when the line carrying the acid and water exploded. Emergency Medical Services and Air Evacuation services were immediately dispatched to the scene, but they were later called back. Cabriales was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after and his body was transported to Nalley, Pickle and Welch Funeral home in Big Spring.”

Burnett said the other 11 employees working at the well site were not injured in the blast.

“The accident was investigated by the Glasscock County Sheriff's Office, and it has since been turned over to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration),” Burnett said. “Cabriales' next of kin has been notified.”

Hydraulic fracturing — often referred to in the oilfield as “fracking” — is a method used to create fractures that extend from a borehole into rock formations. The technique is used to increase or restore the rate which fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be produced from the formation.

By creating or restoring fractures, the surface area of the formation exposed to the borehole is increased and the fracture provides a conductive path connecting the reservoir to the well, which effectively increases the rate fluids can be produced from the reservoir formations.

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