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Drilling Fluids Provider Ordered to Close Ohio Site

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has ordered an independent oilfield services company to cease operations and remove equipment at a site in Jefferson County after it learned from grassroots organizations that the company was operating illegally.

About two weeks ago, Anchor Drilling Fluids USA Inc., which was acquired by Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP last year, was given 14 days to shut down after an ODNR inspector discovered that the company was recycling drill cuttings without a permit, said agency spokesman Eric Heis.

He said it was learned that the company had been recycling without ODNR approval since last summer. Oklahoma-based Anchor provides drilling fluids, production chemicals and other oilfield services to exploration and production companies in 13 states. Heis said the site was primarily used to store the company’s products.

But a company representative said there were no drill cuttings or waste at the site and added that no recycling occurred there either. Instead, the representative said the equipment in question included tanks that were being used to temporarily store excess drilling mud. The representative acknowledged, though, that the site was not properly permitted and said the tanks were being removed on Thursday.

Heis said Anchor had permits to work and store fluid at the site, but it did not have authorization to recycle any wastes at the facility. Communities United for Responsible Energy (CURE) and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative submitted an open records request for more information about the site.

The group said that for six months Anchor worked to prep the site and raised the suspicions of nearby residents in the process. Heis acknowledged that ODNR sent an inspector to the site after learning of potential wrongdoing from CURE.

He added that Anchor is operating throughout eastern Ohio but said it has no other similar facilities in the state. The order to cease operations at the Jefferson County site will not affect its other business in the state. The company could also be fined by ODNR, but Heis said he didn't know when or if that would happen.

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