Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating a Tuesday fire at a natural gas well pad in Susquehanna County. There were no injuries nor significant contamination, DEP said.

The fire occurred at a separator tank at a site operated by Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Auburn Township. The tank ignited at about 8 p.m. EDT and was extinguished at around 10 p.m. EDT by local emergency responders working with the company. The well was producing gas from the Marcellus Shale through a pipeline away from the wellhead to a production unit where a valve failed, leaked natural gas and caught fire, DEP said.

"Fortunately, this incident does not appear to have caused any significant environmental contamination thanks to the prompt response efforts of the local emergency responders and the company," said DEP Secretary John Hanger, noting that no injuries or evacuations were reported. "We'll be investigating this operation closely to see what can be learned by both the department and gas well operators."

Chesapeake notified the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency of the fire at about 8:30 p.m. EDT. DEP dispatched an oil and gas inspector immediately. The site will remain closed until repairs can be made and DEP completes its investigation.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake has been issued 698 permits to develop gas resources in Pennsylvania, 697 of which are for wells within the Marcellus Shale. The company operates 187 wells in the state, 182 of which are in the Marcellus Shale.

In an unrelated incident DEP on Tuesday determined that a blowout at an EOG Resources well in Clearfield County was caused primarily by untrained personnel and a failure to use proper well control procedures (see Daily GPI, July 14).

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