A well in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale operated by Chevron is still burning two days after an explosion that left one worker injured another reported missing.
An early morning explosion on Tuesday at the Lanco 7H well in the Marcellus Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania, 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, resulted in injuries to one contractor, while a second was still reported missing late on Wednesday, and firefighters are continuing to monitor the burning well.
A plan is now being considered to extinguish the fire, while state officials said the fire could continue indefinitely as gas flows up the well.
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"Our plans include efforts to control the well by shutting off the flow of natural gas and taking all appropriate procedures to protect the other wells on the pad. We are closely monitoring the status of the adjacent two wells and are developing contingency plans for those wells if necessary," Reuters quoted Chevron spokeswoman LeAnn Wainwright as saying. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have begun to monitor the air, surface waters and noise in the area for any signs of impact. At this point we have no indications that this incident has created any safety risk."
Officials from the State Department of Environmental Protection said the fire could burn for days, while the cause remains unknown, but that the well was in a rural area with no nearby homes or schools. The DEP said it found no signs of threats to public health as a result of the incident.
Pennsylvania State Police troopers established a half-mile perimeter around the well.
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Nineteen workers were on the well pad at the time of the explosion. The missing worker was employed by Houston-based Cameron International, whose spokeswoman said late on Wednesday that the company had no further details about the missing employee.
According to Chevron, the company’s normal operations in the Appalachian region have been reduced "to ensure we are able to dedicate the appropriate personnel and resources to respond to this."
The Marcellus Shale formation—the largest natural gas field in terms of production in the US--lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and other neighboring states.
By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com