Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt


As crews continue to remove metal debris from around a well fire in Greene County today, a change in the way the gas fire is flaring may mean that an attempt to cap the well could be made as early as this weekend, a state spokesman said.

One of the two Chevron wells that have been releasing gas had been flaring periodically the last two days, which made it dangerous for crews trying to pull the debris - trucks, tanks and other metal that can heat up - away from the well pad, said John Poister, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

But last night, that well began continuously flaring, he said.

"We're kind of taking that as a positive because it's burning off gas that might otherwise gather on the well pad and ignite in an explosion," he said. "We think that will make it an easier job for Wild Well Control to clear the well pad."

Wild Well Control is the well fire company whose experts were flown in from Houston this week by Chevron to try to bring the well under control.

If their crews are able to clear the pad, and get all the necessary equipment on site to make an attempt to cap the well, "we're optimistic that this [attempt to cap the well] will happen sometime over the weekend."

Chevron, which has not allowed any employees to be questioned by reporters, said in a statement released late Tuesday night: "The water tank pad has been prepared and the site is expected to be ready for water tanks to be delivered on Friday, weather permitting. We expect additional equipment will be removed Friday, which will safely enable clear access to the well."

Mr. Poister said Chevron has made an emergency request for a state permit to withdraw water from a nearby pond, apparently as part of the attempt to cap the well.

The Marcellus Shale natural gas well owned by Chevron has spewed natural gas and flame into the air in a field in Dunkard Township since early Tuesday morning.

One employee of a contractor that was working on the site was injured and later treated and released from a local hospital with minor injuries. …

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