FAIRBANKS - A North Slope worker was killed when he was struck by a plug that blew out of the 28-inch pipe he was working on, a BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. spokesman said Saturday.
The man was identified as Rodney Roost, 55, of Soldotna. Two other workers sustained minor injuries.
The accident occurred about six miles west of the Prudhoe Bay base camp.
The three welders were recommissioning a water line that had been out of service, a spokesman said. They are union workers for the BP contractor Norcon, which is a subsidiary of the construction giant Veco Corp.
An investigation is under way to determine why there was enough pressure in the pipe to cause the plug to release, the company said.
Gas pressure caused another incident on the North Slope earlier this year. In August, a well ruptured, releasing a torrent of natural gas into the small metal building covering the wellhead and injuring a worker who was at the site to bleed off the pressure.
The gas sparked an explosion and fire. Don Shugak, a veteran BP oil field operator, suffered burns and broken bones.
Later, BP shut down and tested about 150 oil wells. The tests did not reveal significant problems.