State investigates North Slope oil worker death

  • Thursday, December 13, 2018 10:45pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The employee of a Hilcorp Alaska drilling contractor who died last week was struck by heavy drilling pipe at Milne Point on the North Slope, state officials said.

The state Occupational Safety and Health office is investigating the death, and the companies are conducting internal probes, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week.

The worker employed by contractor Kuukpik Drilling died early Friday. His name hasn’t been released.

The companies are cooperating with authorities, said Kenny Overvold, general manager of Kuukpik Drilling.

“At this point we don’t have anything new to release,” Overvold said.

Hillcorp and Kuukpik Drilling have declined to provide additional information while the death is under investigation.

An investigator with the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health office has visited the worksite, said Claire Pywell of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The death appears to have occurred as workers were laying pipe, said Hollis French, chairman of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He said he spoke last week with a Hilcorp official who characterized death as resulting from a “pipe mishandling incident.”

“It looks like a piece of pipe was mishandled on the rig floor,” French said.

Hilcorp spokeswoman Lori Nelson said in a statement the “cause of the incident is not known.”

“We are deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers with their family and loved ones,” the Hillcorp statement said.

The commission is monitoring the investigation and will review it when completed, French said. The accident does not appear to be a violation of commission procedures, he said.

• By Associated Press

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