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Chesapeake Says Well Blowout Is Under Control

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks answers, Chesapeake Energy Corp. said the blowout of one of its Marcellus Shale wells in northeast Pennsylvania is now under control.

The company said crews regained "permanent well control" of Atgas 2H at about 6:05 p.m. Monday by replacing the damaged wellhead. The well blew out late last Tuesday night (April 19) but has been in "stable" condition for days (see Shale Daily, April 25).

Chesapeake said it plans to continue testing soil and water in the region alongside the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), but it reiterated that tests to date have shown "minimal environmental impact."

Chesapeake still does not know the cause of the incident, other than to blame wellhead equipment.

"Chesapeake will continue to work with the appropriate regulatory agencies to investigate and determine the cause of the equipment failure," spokesman Brian Grove said. "Chesapeake greatly appreciates the professional and responsive assistance of federal, state and local agencies that participated in these efforts, specifically the efforts of local responders, including Bradford County EMA [Emergency Management Agency], the Western Alliance EMA and the Canton Fire Department."

Chesapeake must now respond to a notice of violation issued by the DEP last week (see Shale Daily, April 26), as well as multiple requests from the EPA over the weekend.

Via overnight certified mail, the EPA on Sunday ordered Chesapeake to answer five preliminary questions -- including the disclosure of frack chemicals used in the well -- by Tuesday (April 26). Chesapeake also has 15 days from receipt of the EPA notice to respond to 68 additional questions surrounding the spill.

The Atgas 2H well is in Leroy Township, a small municipality in Bradford County.

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