Friday, June 11, 2010
Last week at the Punxsutawney Hunt Club something went awry with a natural gas well operated by EOG Resources. Gas and fracking fluids shot into the air for 16 hours, polluting the area, including a tributary to Little Laurel Run. Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection ordered EOG to cease drilling until they could investigate the cause of blowout. According to DEP spokesperson Neil Weaver, EOG operates 70 wells around the state and four, including the problem well at the Hunt Club site. The DEP has hired independent expert John Vittitow of Bedrock Engineering in Fort Worth Texas to assess the wells. Vittitow’s specialty is petroleum drilling and post-fracking operations, which is the stage when the blowout occurred June 3. The DEP has said it collected 35,000 gallons of fluid after the incident. Weaver says after examining two of the wells on the Hunt Club site, they've given EOG the go-ahead to drill, while the other two wells continue to be investigated. Weaver says they based their decision on how far along each well is in the drilling process. The two given the green light are at the beginning stages while the third and fourth are in the fracking and extraction phases. He says the investigation will help them determine what caused the blowout—whether it was a problem with the machinery, human error or operational failure—and how to make sure it doesn’t happen going forward.