Friday, June 4, 2010

Marcellus Well Blows out in Moshannon State Forest, PA

Natural gas and drilling fluids began spewing from an out-of-control well  in Moshannon State Forest (Lawrence Township in Clearfield County), PA last night. It took 16 hours, but now state environmental officials say that the well - drilled by EOG Resources, Inc (formerly Enron Oil & Gas) - is under control. The leak happened at a Marcellus well being drilled on McGeorge Road, causing evacuation Friday morning.

According to media reports, State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman Dan Spadoni said no one was injured and there are no homes within a mile of the well. He said polluted drilling water did not reach a waterway. About 1 million gallons of hydro-fracking fluid were released in addition to the gas.

DEP secretary John Hanger told the press that his agency intends to investigate aggressively the circumstances surrounding this blowout. "The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident that endangered life and property," said Hanger, adding that it was not a "minor accident, but a serious incident."

When DEP arrived on the scene natural gas and frack fluid was flowing off the well pad and heading toward tributaries to Little Laurel Run and gas was shooting into the sky, creating a significant fire hazard.

Right now DEP is working to limit further environmental damage. "But once that work is complete, we plan to aggressively look at this situation and see where things went wrong and what enforcement action is necessary," Hanger said. "If mistakes were made, we will be certain to take steps to prevent similar errors from happening again."

In addition to the Emergency Management Agency and DEP, teams from Texas were called to help control the situation and a command trailer was set up. DEP evacuated the area, including campers, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a flight restriction in the immediate area shortly after 11am this morning.

read articles here  and here
read the DEP press release here

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