Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has launched an investigation into a blowout at a Clearfield County well that shot natural gas 75 feet into the air for 16 hours.
DEP Secretary John Hanger says the investigation will look into the well’s entire history.
"We’re looking at the fracking process, as well as the drilling process itself. And the company agrees with this order, and agrees that a look at the entire operation, from the beginning to the point where the problem occurred, is necessary."
EOG Resources began drilling at the site in mid-January, and DEP inspectors visited the well three times over the past few months.
Hanger says the probe will also ask why it took well operators so long to contact authorities once the gas started spewing into the air around 8 pm Thursday.
"They were supposed to, in terms of their emergency response plan, call an emergency response number. And they actually never did that. And that’s one of the factors that we’re going to be looking at, is the whole notification process. They did call 911 in the local area, and around midnight, PEMA was notified."
Hanger says DEP found out through PEMA, and wasn’t able to get staff on the scene until four in the morning. EOG is barred from drilling or fracking at its more than 70 Pennsylvania wells until the investigation is complete.
Hanger says a fine is “likely.”