Marcellus Shale Gas Well Rupture Controlled After 16 Hours

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it plans to "aggressively" investigate what may be the state's worst Marcellus Shale drilling accident ever.

Natural gas and drilling fluids spewed for about 16 hours on Thursday night and Friday morning after the operators lost control while they were preparing to extract gas from fractured shale, according to the DEP. It happened deep in Moshannon State Forest, down a dirt road. Emergency officials said a mile-wide area was evacuated.

Earlier in the day, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction in the immediate area. It will remain in effect until further notice.

According to a PEMA news release, a well which was in the frack process ruptured, spilling frack water and unignited wet gas. Frack water is water mixed with other substances used during drilling.

Elizabeth Ivers, a spokeswoman for driller EOG Resources, said the well was brought under control just about 16 hours after it started spewing gas. EOG Resources said the rupture happened because of unexpectedly high gas pressure after they fractured the shale about a mile below ground. See rest of the article and links to related stories.