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Efforts Tuesday to regain control of a fracking well Tuesday failed.  (Photo: bill baker/flickr/cc)

Out of Control Fracking Well Forces Evacuations

Official said Tuesday blowout at Monroe County, Ohio well remained a threat

Andrea Germanos

An out-of-control natural gas fracking well in Monroe County, Ohio forced more than two dozen families from their homes and may pose the threat of an explosion.

The blowout at the Triad Hunter-operated well on the Utica Shale happened at approximately 2:00 p.m. EST on December 13, 2014, according to a statement released Sunday by the operator's parent company, Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation.

According to reporting by the Columbus Dispatch, the well had been temporarily plugged a year ago.

The company states that "despite numerous precautionary measures taken in connection with the temporary plugging and abandonment operation, the well began to flow uncontrollably while recommencing production operations. Triad Hunter personnel were removing the well's night cap flange when a pressure disruption occurred. They attempted to bolt back down this equipment but were not able to safely do so prior to natural gas flowback."

Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the agency which regulates the gas and oil industry, told the Dispatch Tuesday: "There’s still a steady stream of natural gas coming from the wellhead," and though there is no fire, the gas being emitted could be explosive.

No injuries have been reported in the incident so far.  Over twenty-five families in the area were evacuated, though they now have daytime access to their homes.

According to reporting by Wheeling, West Virginia's WTRF, the first attempt to regain control of the well failed on Tuesday.


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