August 4, 2018 / 3:40 PM / 15 days ago

Officials identify Texas pipeline worker killed in explosion

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texas officials released the name of a pipeline worker who died from injuries suffered when a Midland County, Texas, natural gas pipeline caught fire and exploded on Wednesday, sending seven people to the hospital.

FILE PHOTO: A pipeline explosion erupts in this image captured from video by a field worker in Midland County, the home to the Permian Basin and the largest U.S. oilfield, in Texas, U.S., August 1, 2018. Image taken on August 1, 2018. Courtesy Marty Baeza/Handout via REUTERS

Bud Taylor, an employee of Navitas Midstream Partners, was one of five workers and two firefighters responding to a gas leak when at least one pipeline caught fire and triggered a series of explosions affecting several lines in the area, authorities said.

“With profound sadness, we confirm that one of our colleagues injured on August 1, 2018 in the pipeline rupture and fire in Midland County has succumbed to his injuries,” Navitas Chief Executive Bruce Northcutt said on Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.”

FILE PHOTO: A pipeline explosion erupts in this image captured from video by a field worker in Midland County, the home to the Permian Basin and the largest U.S. oilfield, in Texas, U.S., August 1, 2018. Image taken on August 1, 2018. Courtesy Marty Baeza/Handout via REUTERS

Taylor’s LinkedIn profile identified him as a resident of San Angelo, Texas, and a 30-year energy industry veteran who joined Navitas two years ago and worked at the company as manager of operations services.

The 63-year-old died on Friday at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, where five workers were airlifted on Wednesday from the Midland County blast. The names and affiliations of the other workers injured have not been released.

One remained in critical condition and two were listed in serious condition, a hospital spokesman said. A fifth person was released earlier in the week after being treated. Two other people, with less severe injuries from the explosion, were treated at Midland Hospital.

The cause of the leak and explosion, which breached lines operated by Navitas and Kinder Morgan Inc that fed natural gas processing facilities in the area, remains under investigation.

Kinder Morgan has said one of its employees was among those taken to the Lubbock hospital for treatment. Another company’s pipeline likely breached, causing a section of its nearby El Paso Natural Gas line to fail, the company said.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Tom Brown

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