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Carrizo Resumes Operations at Pennsylvania Well That Malfunctioned

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has given Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. permission to resume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations at a natural gas well in Wyoming County that malfunctioned last month.

DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly told NGI's Shale Daily that a flange on top of the wellhead of the Yarasavage 1H well malfunctioned on March 13 (see Shale Daily, March 18). Connolly said the incident caused about 5,400 barrels of flowback to return to the surface, but these were captured in tanks at the well site, which is located in Washington Township, about four miles northwest of Tunkhannock.

Connolly said officials from the DEP and Carrizo met last Thursday to discuss procedures.

"They're continuing to work with us, to monitor the groundwater and to take steps necessary to make sure this incident doesn't happen again," Connolly said Monday. "They're going to monitor better and double check to make sure their equipment is in working shape."

Richard Hunter, vice president of investor relations for Carrizo, confirmed to NGI's Shale Daily on Monday that the DEP had given the company permission to resume fracking operations at the Yarasavage 1H well on Friday, and that Carrizo was continuing to take local water samples.

"They're still going to sample for several weeks to come, and continue to monitoring the groundwater for us," Connolly said, adding that no contamination had been found to date. "There was some concern about contamination in a roadside ditch, but that ditch also had old snow and rock salt in it. Just to make sure, we're going to keep sampling the groundwater in that area."

Three families near the incident site were evacuated on March 13, but allowed to return the next day after workers successfully capped the well and brought it under control. There were no injuries.

After the incident, Carrizo agreed to supply bottled water to residents within 1,500 feet of the well. Connolly said the decision to supply the water "wasn't a mandate by us, it was just a request. I believe at least two [households] are still accepting them."

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