BLOSSBURG - Talisman Energy USA Inc., of Warrendale, Butler County, has been fined $51,478 for a "gas well control incident" that occurred in January 2011 at a well pad on state forest land in Ward Township, Tioga County, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday.
"Equipment failure during fracking on Jan. 17 caused about 21,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid and sand to be released for about three hours," DEP
Northcentral Regional Director Nels Taber said. "Fortunately, Talisman responded quickly and most of the release did not escape secondary containment."
The spill was on the company's state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 587 No. 8 well pad.
The fluid discharged from the head of the well under high pressure, tearing the well pad's secondary containment liner for several yards. Vacuum trucks recovered the fluid on the well pad.
No streams, wetlands or private drinking water wells were impacted by the spill, DEP said.
A department inspection conducted Jan. 25 confirmed that Talisman staff had repaired the damaged liner, replaced the failed equipment and removed contaminated soil beneath the liner.
"There were no injuries, all equipment was shut off, fluids were contained within the well site and cleaned up," said Talisman's director of media relations Mark Scheuerman.
An investigation by DEP's Oil and Gas Program and Talisman staff determined that the cause of the incident was a needle valve that had failed and could not be shut off.
To regain control of the well, the hydraulic valve above the master valve was remotely closed and fluid was allowed to flow back through the production test separator. A new pipe connector, called a hammer union, also was installed and closed.