CLEARFIELD COUNTY---The DEP is looking for answers as to why EOG Resources lost control of one of their wells last week, spilling thousands of gallons of hazardous fluids.
The Marcellus Shale gas well in Lawrence Township on the property of the Punxsutawney Hunting Club ruptured around 8:00 Thursday evening, and natural gas and fracking water shot out of the well until Friday afternoon.
The DEP estimated that at least 35,000 gallons of drilling waste water spilled out of the well, which was contained by trenches and pumped into trucks.
They’ve launched an investigation into the cause of the well rupture, and have ordered EOG to halt operations on their 265 active wells in Pennsylvania until the investigation is complete.
Officials say they believe the contamination of fracking fluid and natural gas has been contained to the site, although they are still monitoring area streams.
The DEP has determined that a piece of equipment that prevents blowouts like this one failed to activate.
They believe it was purely an equipment malfunction and not human error, but they are still investigating the procedures that were in place at the site to make sure all protocols were followed.
DEP officials say that whenever natural gas is involved, you’re dealing with a potentially explosive situation, and it was fortunate that there were no injuries caused by this incident.
The faulty equipment, along with all of EOG Resources drilling operations and practices will be closely examined to be sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“Clearly, equipment failures of this sort need to be prevented, said Director of DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management, Scott Perry, “We’re going to take a look at the maintenance record on the equipment and whether there’s mechanical problems with this particular piece of equipment throughout the industry. It’s going to be a very comprehensive investigation to determine exactly what the root causes were and what we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”
DEP will continue to take samples from area waterways to determine if there was any contamination. They say they’ll know more about exactly how much natural gas and fracking fluid leaked from the well when their investigation is complete.