The Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection spoke to the media and said the state is going to take a hard line stance on lax drilling practices in the future. The agency fined the company in charge of the Clearfield County site $353,000 and put in place stricter standards for drillers in Pennsylvania.
“The whole industry is taking this situation very seriously,” John Hager, Pennsylvania DEP Secretary, said.
A packed house listened to the DEP Secretary and an independent investigator bring the hammer down on EOG Resources - the company the state reported cut corners that lead to last month's gas well blowout.
“You don't cut these corners. Nobody would cut, I don't know any company that would cut these corners on this kind of well,” John Vittitow, Independent Investigator, said.
The Commonwealth is hoping all of the state's gas drillers will be quick to follow the new rules. EOG only had one pressure barrier to prevent blowouts, when it failed disaster struck. Now, DEP’s mandating two pressure barriers at every well in the state.
“Some more prescription specifying for every single operator what must be done is needed and that’s what this event showed,” Hager said.
The State hired 39 drilling site inspectors in 2009, and they are on track to hire close to double that amount this year.
“We're going to be directing our inspectors to pay particular close attention to these corrective actions not only at EOG Operations, but throughout this industry these items are going to be a focus of inspection work going forward today ,” Hager told reporters.
The state has also mailed out a letter to every drilling company alerting them to the new changes.
Hager said there are no excuses for companies not to follow drilling procedures to a "t".