A state court jury in Oklahoma awarded $20 million to the families of two men who died in the Quinton drilling rig explosion, but National Oilwell Varco — the only oil company left in the litigation after all of the other companies settled — was only found responsible for $2 million.
On January 22, 2018, the Patterson 219 drilling rig near Quinton, Oklahoma exploded after an uncontrolled release of gas during the drilling process. Five workers died in the blowout, including 2 men who burned to death inside the doghouse, which is a building located on top of the rig.
Lawyers claimed that the doghouse, which was designed by National Oilwell Varco, failed to protect the men. The company was also accused of failing to properly use drilling mud to prevent a blowout.
The jury found National Oilwell Varco only 10% responsible for the $20 million verdict. The company was ordered to pay $1 million each to the estates of the 2 men who died in the doghouse — Josh Ray, a 35 year-old from Texas, and Cody Risk, a 26 year-old from Colorado.
The family members of all five victims had previously reached settlements with the other companies involved in the drilling rig, such as Red Mountain Energy and Patterson-UTI Drilling Company, leaving National Oilwell Varco as the only remaining defendant.
The jury found Red Mountain Energy to be 60% responsible, and Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. to be 30% responsible for the disaster.
The explosion was the deadliest drilling accident since 11 men died in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.