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Environment & Energy

Leaking Dunkard Township Gas Well Expected To Be Capped Soon

One gas well is still leaking after a fatal blast at an adjacent gas well in Greene County. One of the Chevron Lanco wells in Dunkard Township caught fire on Feb. 11, and three days later a second caught fire.

Both fires are now out and the first well is capped, but the second well that caught fire is now releasing gas. The Department of Environmental Protection and Chevron plan to have the well capped sometime Tuesday, “if all goes well.”

“The wind conditions need to be right, all of their equipment in shape, probably a whole lot of other variables. If all of those things fall into place correctly their plan is to cap (the well) tomorrow,” said DEP Southwest Regional Oil and Gas Program Manager Alan Eichler.

The DEP has set up monitors around the perimeter of the site to measure gas and therefore the leaking well poses no threat to residents.

According to the DEP, the company capping the wells will measure the integrity of a nearby third well and make any necessary repairs.

It could be a while before the cause of the blast is determined. Eichler said their first priority is to cap the well and then authorities will work to determine the cause after the scene has been analyzed and reports and data are collected.

“This is an unusual event … they’ve been drilling Marcellus wells since 2005 and this is the first event we have had like this. So it’s very unusual, and we’re going to try and determine what the cause was,” said Eichler.

The first blast killed 27-year-old Ian McKee, who was working on the pad when the fire broke out.

Correction: The headline of a previous version of this report incorrectly stated when officials hoped to have the adjacent gas well capped. It has been updated.