U.S. EPA report shows concern over fire at Statoil Utica shale well

SALEM, Ohio — A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is casting a glare on a fracking company after a well fire at an Ohio drilling site June 28.

When a Statoil well in Monroe County caught fire in June, fluid was spilled beyond the well pad into a nearby creek and reportedly killed over 50,000 fish in the creek. The chemicals were found as far away as five miles. The U.S. EPA report, however, doesn’t indicate drinking water was affected.

The Ohio EPA was notified of the fracking chemical spill, and then notified the U.S. EPA, according to the incident report from the Ohio EPA.

Cause of fire

According to the U.S. EPA report, the fire was likely the result of a broken hydraulic line that sprayed fluid onto hot equipment, igniting it. The fire spread rapidly, resulting in the loss of most of the equipment and chemicals on the well pad.

Statoil has eight wells on the pad, which is located on Long Ridge Road between state Route 7 and state Route 536.

The initial chemical discharge and well fire resulted in residents near the pad being evacuated immediately after the spill.

Chemicals

According to the U.S. EPA report, over 16 different chemical products were staged on the pad at the time of the fire. Materials present on the pad included: diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, motor oil, hydrochloric acid, cesium-137 sources, hydrotreated light petroleum distillates, terpenes, terpenoids, isoproponal, ethylene glycol, paraffinic solvents, sodium persulfate, tributyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride and proprietary components.

List disclosure

However, what has captured attention is that Halliburton, the company hired by Statoil to frack the well, provided only a partial list of the chemicals used on the site for fracking. According to the U.S. EPA report, it took five days for information on all of the chemicals used on the frack job to be provided to the U.S. and Ohio EPA.

Ohio law includes a provision that the fracking chemical list must be given to responding fire departments and the ODNR, but the information can’t be shared.

Halliburton disputes the report’s claim that it delayed providing the information. According to company spokesman Susie McMichael, Halliburton provided the proprietary ingredients to ODNR when ODNR asked for it on June 30.

When Halliburton received the same request from the Ohio EPA on July 3, it provided the information over the phone, and with a follow-up email the same day, McMichael said, adding that neither U.S. EPA nor Ohio EPA asked Halliburton for the information until July 3.

“If they had asked earlier, we would have provided the information,” McMichael said in an email to Farm and Dairy.

Once, a fracking company is finished with the job, they have 60 days to supply the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with the list of chemicals they used in the process on a well site. However, the fracking job at the Statoil well remains unfinished, according to the ODNR report, which lists the well as being permitted and not in a drilling phase.

The final report update, which was issued July 17, states the collection points set up have been effective in preventing more discharges from the site into the creek.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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