Odessa Man Admits to Setting Tank Battery Fires

MIDLAND - An Odessa man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to setting oil production tank batteries on fire.

27-year-old Steven Wayne Jones of Odessa was facing six counts of destruction of an energy facility. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

Jones admitted in Midland's Federal Court to setting fires to six tank batteries owned by Plains Marketing Company back in May of last year. Jones was fired from Plains Marketing the day before he set the fires.

At each facility, all of which were located in Ector or Crane counties, Jones opened valves causing crude oil to be released onto the ground. Jones then set fire to the oil, which spread to production equipment.

Jones will be sentenced in the next 90 days.