The small oil condensate spill late last year at Chevron Corp.’s Marcellus Shale well site was greater than anticipated, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said.
On Dec. 20, Chevron reported to regulators it discovered a leak from a pipe joint weld buried four feet under the well pad in Robinson, Washington County. Initially, authorities thought the broken pipe spilled two barrels of oil condensate, but Chevron reported to regulators by the end of December that the spill was greater than anticipated, said John Poister, community relations coordinator for the DEP.
“As of today they believe as much of 80 barrels of condensate were lost between Nov. 8, when they begun their fracking operation, and Dec. 18, when they discovered the break in the pipe,” Poister said.
Chevron didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company is working on determine the extent of the contamination of the soil at the site, Poister said, adding the DEP has collected soil and water samples and testing them for contamination.
Chevron became one of the largest natural gas producer in the Marcellus Shale after it bought Atlas Energy last year for about $4 billion.
The spill comes at a time when hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves using huge quantities of pressurized water and chemicals to unlock oil and gas resources trapped in rocks underground, is under scrutiny by environmental groups.