BP investigates fatal Colorado natgas blast

Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:59pm BST

A sign board of a BP petrol station is seen in Moscow June 1, 2012. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

A sign board of a BP petrol station is seen in Moscow June 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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(Reuters) - BP is investigating the cause of an explosion at a natural gas compressor station in western Colorado on Monday that killed one worker and injured two others, the company said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred during maintenance on a pipeline at BP's Pinon compressor station near Bayfield, a small gathering hub for production from the company's San Juan basin, BP said in a statement.

The station, which handles about 30 million cubic feet of gas per day, a tiny fraction of U.S. daily supply, has been shut and BP was unable to give a timeline for its restart.

"BP has launched its own investigation into the accident. We will also cooperate with federal, state and local officials as they conduct investigations of their own," the statement said.

BP lists itself as the top natural gas producer in Colorado, operating more than 1,500 wells, most of which are "unconventional" wells, or ones that use new techniques to extract oil or gas from harder-to-reach formations like shale.

The company's operations in the state are cantered in the San Juan basin.

BP's safety record has been in the spotlight since the 2010 Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 and resulted in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history, and the Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 in 2005.

BP's U.S. shares were trading near unchanged at $37.67 on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Eileen Houlihan, Janet McGurty and Edward McAllister; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Marguerita Choy)

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