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EOG Well Blowout Follow-Up


Back in June I wrote a blog about an EOG well blowout in Clearfield County, PA in the Marcellus Shale (see PA DEP Coming Down Hard On EOG for Well Blowout).  In that blog I mentioned that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) suspended EOG’s natural gas drilling activity in PA until a comprehensive investigation is complete and EOG makes the suggested changes.  Well, EOG is back in business in Pennsylvania.  Last week the DEP reported that John Vittitow, an independent investigator hired by the DEP, has completed his investigation of the blow out and it was determined that untrained personnel and failure to use proper well control procedures were the cause of the blowout.  EOG and C.C. Forbes, EOG’s service contractor on the well, were fined and ordered to take corrective actions.  EOG was ordered to make 9 corrective actions and fined $353,400 to cover the DEPs investigation and response to the incident and C.C. Forbes was ordered to make 6 corrective actions and fined $46,600.

In true Hanger fashion, he had a few things to say in regards to the blowout, “The blowout in Clearfield County was caused by EOG Resources and its failure to have proper barriers in place.  This incident was preventable and should never have occurred.” He then added, “Make no mistake, this could have been a catastrophic incident.  Had the gas blowing out of the well ignited, the human cost would have been tragic, and had an explosion allowed this well to discharge wastewater for days or weeks, the environmental damage would have been significant.”

As a result of the incident and investigation the DEP has written letters to companies drilling in the Marcellus ensuring that they follow proper well construction and emergency notification policy in hopes that this type of incident does not happen again.

To learn more visit the Marcellus Regulatory, Environmental Info folder in the Unconventional Updates in DI’s DNA.

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Anne Leonard

In January 2015, Anne Leonard headed the team that launched the latest addition to DrillingInfo’s international publications, International Scout Frontier North America which covers the US Gulf of Mexico as well as Maritime and Arctic Canada. She has been reporting on exploration and production for more than 30 years. She began her career in Denver covering the Rocky Mountain Region, and has spent the last 10 years covering the international arena, with a particular focus on Latin America, Africa, Western Europe and the Far East. Anne received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nebraska.