Assessments for the Chevron Well Pad Fire of February 2014

by Duane Nichols on June 1, 2015

Chevron's Lanco Well Pad Fire

Chevron fined $940,000 for fatal gas well fire in Greene County PA

From an Article by Stephanie Ritenbaugh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1, 2015

Chevron Corp. is facing a nearly $940,000 fine from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, in addition to a $5 million settlement related to a fatal gas well fire in 2014 in Greene County, PA. (The location is near Bobtown, close to the Mason-Dixon line, i.e. the WV state line.)

The PA-DEP said Monday that it will fine a subsidiary, Chevron Appalachia LLC, for violations related to a fatal explosion at the company’s Lanco well site in Dunkard Township, Greene County.

“The penalty points to Chevron’s failure to construct and operate the well site to ensure that health, safety and environment were protected, as required by the state’s Oil and Gas Act,” the PA-DEP said.

Last week, the San Ramon, Calif.-based company agreed to pay $5 million to settle a wrongful death suit involving Ian Robert McKee, a worker who was killed at the explosion at the Marcellus Shale well site on February 11, 2014. Another worker was injured in the incident.

Mr. McKee, 27, was a field service technician for Houston-TX-based Cameron International Corp., a contractor to Chevron. Mr. McKee was at the well site in Dunkard with a crew of 19 other contractors when it exploded, igniting flames that were fed by leaking natural gas for five days before they finally extinguished themselves.

The explosion happened as workers were preparing the Lanco 7H well for production. The force of the explosion damaged and ignited another well, the Lanco 6H, on the same well pad.

Chevron has since inspected other wells with similar installations and has made operational changes and issued guidelines on how those changes are carried out, according to the PA-DEP.

Of the $5 million settlement, about $2.9 million will establish a trust for Mr. McKee’s son, Ian Robert McKee Jr., according to court documents filed last week. Mr. McKee’s fiancee gave birth to their son months after the incident. (Ian McKee was living in Morgantown, WV, while working at the Lanco well site.)

NOTE: This Marcellus shale gas well pad fire burned for many days. The fire was so hot that residents of the area were kept over 2 miles distant and some local roads were not accessible. Chevron offerred a certificate for a free large pizza and a bottle of soda pop for those who were inconvenienced by this event.

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