Wellheads secure at Lanco site

March 3, 2014
Katie Roupe/Observer-Reporter One worker remains missing after a gas well explosion near Bobtown in Dunkard Township on Tuesday, February 11. The intensity of the flames prevented crews from getting close to the fire at the Lanco wellhead.

Now that Wild Well Control and Chevron successfully replaced the wellhead Saturday on the third well at the Lanco site in Dunkard Township, work will shift to installing plugs about 8,000 feet below the surface in all three wells as an extra layer of protection to relieve any pressure on the wellheads.

Lee Ann Wainwright, a Chevron spokeswoman, said Monday over the last few days workers conducted tests to assess the integrity of the Lanco 8H well, after previously capping the 7H and 6H wells.

The testing included inspecting the seals on the well head and testing the integrity of the valves and ports. “We then successfully installed a valve that shuts off the gas flow and replaced the wellhead on the Lanco 8H well. With the actions taken this weekend, all three wells on the Lanco pad are now secure.

She said Chevron is continuing to conduct its investigation into the cause of the incident in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and all appropriate regulatory authorities.

An explosion at the well pad Feb. 11 left one worker with minor injuries and another worker dead. The worker who died was later identified as Ian McKee, 27, a native of Warren, who was employed as a field representative for Cameron International.

The two wells on the pad impacted by the explosion burned until Feb. 15 when they extinguished themselves. The wells, however, continued to release gas until they were sealed by workers from Wild Well Control of Houston, Texas, a company that specialized in fighting well fires.

DEP has been monitoring air quality around the site and has found nothing that would indicate a danger.

John Poister, a DEP spokesman, said the agency has had personnel at the site since the explosion, and has already collected much information though it is still too early to cite a cause, he said.



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