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Pennsylvania DEP fines Talisman for gas well-control incident

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Talisman Energy USA Inc. $51,478 for a January 2011 gas well-control incident during hydraulic fracturing in Ward Township, Tioga County.

“Equipment failure during fracing on Jan. 17 caused about 21,000 gal of hydraulic fracturing fluid and sand to be released for about 3 hr,” DEP North-central Regional Director Nels Taber said.

Fluid discharged from the wellhead under high pressure. Vacuum trucks recovered the fluid on the well pad. No streams, wetlands, or private drinking water wells were touched by the spill.

Regulators said the incident was caused by 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. Fluid was allowed to flow back through the production test separator. A new pipe connector called a hammer union was also installed and closed.

Inspectors confirmed Talisman repaired a torn liner, replaced failed equipment, and removed contaminated soil beneath the liner within days of the incident.


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