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PA DEP Coming Down Hard On EOG for Well Blowout


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered EOG Resources to halt all natural gas drilling activity in the State because of a recent blowout of EOG’s well the Punxsutawney Hunt Club #36H in Clearfield County, PA.  The blowout caused 35,000 gallons of natural gas and drilling wastewater to be projected into the air and on the ground for 16 hours.  According to the DEP the suspension will remain until they can perform a comprehensive investigation and EOG can make the DEP’s requested changes.

“DEP staff, along with an independent expert, will conduct a detailed investigation of not just the incident that occurred last week in Clearfield County, but of EOG Resources’ drilling operations, as a whole, here in Pennsylvania,” states John Hanger, DEP Secretary.”The Clearfield County incident presented a serious threat to life and property.  We are working with the company to review its Pennsylvania drilling operations fully from beginning to end to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again.”

In an EOG press release yesterday about the incident they stated that they have suspended drilling operations for up to 7 days, fracing operations for up to 14 days, and post-frac completion and well clean up for up to 30 days.  EOG is doing their part with plans to conduct thorough reviews of their operations and have hired an independent industry expert to investigate the incident itself.

“EOG regrets this incident and will continue to cooperate and work with the PADEP and other Pennsylvania authorities” states Gary L. Smith, EOG VP and GM of Pittsburgh. “After the investigations are complete, we will carefully review the findings with the goal of enhancing our practices.  When all outstanding issues are resolved, we look forward to resuming full operations in Pennsylvania.”

While this is a very serious incident it makes one wonder if the harsh reaction from the DEP is spin off from the BP situation in the Gulf.   The refreshing news though is that EOG has and is doing everything in their power to rectify the situation and with no fires, no injuries and minimal environmental impact they are on top of things.  They also seem to be very transparent about the incident and detailed the events in the press release.

The following are EOG’s permits for the last year; 48 of those are in Clearfield County, 33 are in Bradford, 18 are in Elk, and 11 are in McKean.  Note that Punxsutawney Hunt Club #36H has an issue date of 10/14/2009.

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.