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Texas company sentenced in North Dakota oilfield death

Posted at 9:28 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 22:28:55-04

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Houston company has been found guilty and ordered to pay $2.1 million in fines and restitution in the 2014 death of an Alabama man who died in an explosion while working western North Dakota's oil patch.

C&J Well Services, formerly known as Nabors Completion and Production Services, pleaded guilty Wednesday of violating safety regulations and causing the death of 28-year-old Marine veteran Dustin Payne, of Hazel Green, Alabama.

Authorities say Payne was welding inside a tank that had not been properly cleaned and vented. The welding equipment ignited vapors, causing an explosion.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ordered the company to pay $1.6 million to Payne's estate as well as a $500,000 fine.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2015 fined the company more than $97,000.