PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Department of Environmental Protection spokesman says today’s gas well explosion is the first serious Marcellus shale well blowout in our region.
But how did it happen?
The fire and subsequent explosion rocked rural Greene County, sending gas flares and flames shooting into the air.
The cause is still undetermined and will be the focus of an investigation by the state Department of Environmental Protection – and an internal probe by Chevron.
Investigators believe something sparked and ignited gas within the well, as some 20 workers were attempting to put the well into production, in an effort to start harvesting natural gas.
Sources say such flares can often be contained, but this one was not and that it touched off the explosion of a propane tank that was parked on the pad.
A DEP spokesman says it is too early in its investigation to make a judgment as to whether the close proximity of that propane truck will result in a notice of violation for Chevron.
Watch Brenda Waters’ report:
The oil and gas giant is a new player in the Marcellus shale and began buying leases and drilling here three years ago. Within the industry, it has a reputation for taking extreme measures to ensure safety and has no violations in Pennsylvania.
A Chevron spokesman said, “Chevron’s primary concern at this point is to contain the fire and ensure the safety of its employees, contractors and the surrounding community.”