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Lack of Training One of the Reasons in the Clearfield Fracking Blowout

July 14, 2010

The report is back on the Clearfield fracking accident and it shows, ignoring safety procedures was the main reason for the spill that spewed around 35,000 gallons of the fracking chemicals on the ground in a sixteen hour period. In the article it points out, if the fluid and gas would have ignited, the loss of humane life and environmental damage could have been catastrophic.


EOG Resources cut corners by failing to put proper pressure barriers in place and caused the incident on the Marcellus shale gas reserve, said Department of Environmental Resources Secretary John Hanger.

The company used one barrier to prevent blowouts between the shale formation and surface, even though standard industry practice calls for two barriers, Hanger said. DEP notified gas well operators by letter that they must have “at a minimum two barriers.”

“Make no mistake, this could have been a catastrophic incident,” said Hanger. “Had the gas blowing out of the well been 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.”

The blow out contaminated a stream, but the article does not say how close the stream was to the blowout. In fact it hardly mentions it at all.

Houston-based EOG Resources, which has natural gas reserves in Canada, Trinidad, the United Kingdom and China, cooperated with DEP’s investigation, Hanger said. But the state could revoke the company’s license following another serious violation, he said.

This accident was preventable, he said. The blowout contaminated a stream.

The Pa. legislators will decide whether or not to place a surcharge on natural gas extraction in September. The budget was passed, and called for the tax but could not agree on the rate or the use for the money.

Now the troubling thing about the accident was, the site was inspected in January, February, and March, by the state. However, the blatant violations were not caught. The DEP requires that a person with well control certification be on site at all times.

Three state inspections at the Clearfield site — in January, February and March — found no violations. Hanger said an inspector would have flagged the lack of a blowout preventer if the inspector saw that.

DEP will require operators or subcontractors to keep someone with well-control certification on site. The agency cited lack of training for personnel as a problem at the Punxsutawney Hunting Club 36H well in Clearfield.

EOG, formerly Enron Oil & Gas Co., has 279 active wells in Pennsylvania, 139 of them tapping Marcellus shale. After the accident, DEP suspended its operations for 40 days.

I have a suggestion on the persons that have to be on the site with well control certifications. “Use state or 3rd party employees. Also require daily reports from these employees.

The people I have talked too about the fracking process and the great chance of land and water contamination say the process is going on six miles under the ground. In their defense this is what the companies are telling them. However, the incident in Clearfield Pa. happened from under the ground. While in the process of drilling for extraction, in broke through the shield meant to contain.

On the Chesapeake Energy Fact Sheet the key points they point out are;


Hydraulic fracturing is essential for the production of natural gas from shale formations.

Fracturing fluids are comprised of more than 99% water and sand and are handled in self-contained systems.

Freshwater aquifers are protected by multiple layers of protective steel casing surrounded by cement; this is administered and enforced under state regulations.

Deep shale gas formations exist many thousands of feet underground.

However, in the same Fact Sheet the say;

In addition to water and sand, other additives are used in fracturing fluids to allow fracturing to be performed in a safe and effective manner. Additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluids include a number of compounds found in common consumer products.

That is not entirely true because I don’t know of anyone that uses ZETAFLOW in the home. In fact, the five-page data sheet advises people handling ZetaFlow to wear goggles and chemical-resistant clothing and boots.

Inhalation of the chemical can lead to headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure and low oxygen levels in the blood, according to the data sheet. On the data sheet it does not tell that if the chemical comes in contact with the skin, the same thing can happen also it will start to shut the body down. See Source for the terrifying story.


One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 3:07 am

    nice of the BIG COOPERATIONS to fix things!!!! well iam down here in the OIL SPILL ZONE, pensacola fl. we finnally got some containment on the 60,000 barrel a day leak. after 80 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!
    now they got the well capped, and are now starting to lay off people, in the clean up crews and also the boats they have hired to help in the clean. people who file lost wage/money claims against BP are not getting any pay………………………and i fear the worst hasnt even started. we got a gob of oil out there in the gulf………of 80 days of of 40-60,000 barrels a day just looking for some place to land. to do the math on this is stagering. a barrel is 53 GALLONS, X 60,000 A DAY, X 80 DAYS!!!!!!!!!
    and i guess now the well is shut off…………………..BP WONT WORRY TO MUCH ABOUT THAT GOB OF OIL.
    in my 65 years, i have this crap to many times. as a boy in avella, i thought all creeks ran ORANGE!!!! this was the 40-50’s left over SULFER RUN OFF from all the closed mines in the area.
    then we had to contend with the smell of burning sulfer, from the “slate dumps” those coal mines produced. wasnt till the 70’s these was bulldozed so they stopped burning. after that it was the STRIP MINERS, who ravaged the land, and when the coal was gone…………..THEY LEFT OPEN PITS, AND LAND NOTHING WOULD GROW ON!!!!!
    now they do this fraking crap? what damage is this gona leave in 20-30 years?
    i live somewhere now that had the MOST BEAUTIFUL WHITE SAND BEACHS & dunes, with BLUE WATER as far as the eye can see……………………and now i have to watch this being destroyed.
    an old song comes to mind by peter, paul & mary…………Where Have All the Flowers Gone………….
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?


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