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oilfield death

Hydrocarbon poisoning blamed for N.D. oil worker death

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Dustin Bergsing

Dustin Bergsing

The January death of a 21-year-old Montana man at a Marathon Oil well site was not of natural causes.

Dustin Bergsing died of hydrocarbon poisoning due to inhalation of petroleum vapors, according to the death certificate from the North Dakota state forensic examiner.

John Hiatt — an investigator with Bremseth Law Firm in Minneapolis, which represents Bergsing’s family — said further tests are being conducted by the medical examiner’s office. The family will make a decision about how to proceed on Tuesday.

Bergsing was found dead by a co-worker shortly after midnight on Jan. 7 at the site in northwestern Dunn County.

When contacted by the Tribune, Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division, was unavailable for comment, according to his office. The Tribune also left two messages with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s office and the state medical examiner’s office.

“We were saddened by the loss of Dustin Bergsing in January of this year,” Marathon spokeswoman Lee Warren said in an emailed statement. “Our analysis and testing of the location following the incident indicated no apparent equipment malfunctions or other abnormalities. We will be further studying the findings of the forensic examiner. We take this very seriously. Our commitment to safety is our top priority, and no injury or loss of life is acceptable. Our thoughts are with the family.”

Bergsing worked for Across Big Sky Flow Testing of Dickinson, which was contracted by Marathon Oil.

Reach reporter Jessica Holdman at 250-8261or


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