Accident Description

Accident: Sonat Exploration Co. Catastrophic Vessel Overpressurization

Location: Location: Pitkin, LA

Accident Occured On: 03/04/1998 | Final Report Released On: 09/21/2000

Accident Type: Oil and Refining - Fire and Explosion

Investigation Status: The final report on this investigation was approved on September 21, 2000.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. on March 4, 1998, a catastrophic vessel failure and fire occurred near Pitkin, Louisiana, at the Temple 22-1 Common Point Separation Facility owned by Sonat Exploration Co. Four workers who were near the vessel were killed, and the facility sustained significant damage. The vessel lacked a pressure relief system and ruptured due to overpressurization during start-up, releasing flammable material which ignited.