Serious accidents at Marcellus shale natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the past five days have prompted sanctions against one Texas-based drilling company, support for tighter federal regulations and even calls for a moratorium on drilling.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger on Monday ordered EOG Resources Inc., formerly Enron Oil & Gas Co., to suspend all new drilling operations in the state until an independent investigation of a massive well “blowout” Thursday night near Penfield, Clearfield County, is completed.
“The Clearfield County incident presented a serious threat to life and property,” Mr. Hanger said. “We are working with the company to review its Pennsylvania drilling operations fully from beginning to end to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again.”
Mr. Hanger said it was fortunate that the well did not ignite or explode. A preliminary DEP investigation has determined that the well’s blowout preventer failed, even though EOG records show the company inspected the device early Thursday morning.