Explosion at West Va. natural gas well site injuries at least five

NEW YORK, July 8 Mon Jul 8, 2013 11:43am EDT

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) - An explosion over the weekend at a natural gas well site in West Virginia operated by Antero Resources injured at least five people, local officials said on Monday.

A spark triggered a flash explosion and a fire after a problem during the "flow back" process when drilling fluids return to the surface and are pumped into storage tanks, according to Pat Heaster, director of emergency services in Doddridge County, about 100 miles north of Charleston.

The "flow back" process is central to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique used to release natural gas from shale rock.

The incident occurred around 4 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Heaster said.

Antero Resources Corp, an oil and natural gas company controlled by Warburg Pincus LLC, was not immediately available for a comment.

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