Out-of-state gas drilling worker dead in Marion County - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Out-of-state gas drilling worker dead in Marion County

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Updated 3:45 with information about the victim.

Updated 4:45 with confirmation that the contractor was not acting under contract to Consol.

One worker is dead after an incident near Consol Energy's Loveridge Preparation Plant in Marion County.

The name of the worker has not been released, but the Marion County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that the man is an out-of-state worker in his early 40s.

Consol released a statement the evening of Jan. 14 saying the company was contacted around 6:10 p.m. Monday by a drilling contractor that was performing work near the preparation plant "independent of Consol Energy."

A small-core drilling rig overturned and crushed the victim, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The rig was conducting exploratory work in the Marcellus Shale, MSHA said. It was drilling 30-foot deep holes and setting off shots for the purpose of seismic testing.

The contractor is Omni Energy Services Co. of Carencro, La.

Consol issued a statement on Jan. 15 saying the company doing the seismic testing had been granted access to Consol property, and that the independent testing was not associated with CONSOL Energy's active coal mining or gas operations. Spokesperson Lynn Seay confirmed, that the contractor was not acting on Consol's behalf.

Seismic testing does not require permitting from the state, but only the consent of the landowner, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

MSHA said it has determined the fatality did not occur on bonded mine property, so the incident is not considered a mining fatality and falls under the jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Jamie Stover of WBOY TV contributed to this report.