CLEARFIELD – On Tuesday the Clearfield County Commissioners held a press conference to announce that a specialized oil and gas well incident response team is locating in Clearfield County.
According to the commissioners, Wild Well Control of Houston, TX, will locate a response team at the Clearfield-Lawrence Airport. The team will consist of three people and their equipment. According to Dick Shaffer, airport manager, the company entered into a year-long lease, with an option to extend. A press release from the commissioners indicated that based on the agreement between the Clearfield-Lawrence Joint Airport Authority and Wild Well Control, the company will pay for any necessary construction and upgrades to the area Wile Well Control will be using.
“We’re pleased they selected the airport,” added Shaffer.
This announcement comes roughly two months after the EOG Resources gas well blowout off of Four Mile Road in Lawrence Township. Natural gas and wastewater escaped from the well, uncontrolled, for about 16 hours. Wild Well Control was the group that was called in from Texas to help get the situation under control.
According to the commissioners, the three people will relocate to the Clearfield area and become a part of the community. In addition to being on-call for gas well incidents, the team will also provide training to emergency responders.
The press release issued by the commissioners stated, “This partnership between Clearfield County, Wild Well Control Inc. and the Clearfield-Lawrence Airport will make the entire region better prepared to deal with any emergency situations that may arise at a gas drilling site.”
Commissioner John Sobel said at the press conference that fellow Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen got the ball rolling by contacting Wild Well Control. Sobel also thanked Commissioner Mark McCracken for working with Sen. Bob Casey’s office on the subject.
“We’re just thrilled this opportunity came to Clearfield County,” said McMillen. She said they took representatives from Wild Well Control around Clearfield County and that the reps were impressed with the airport.
“We’re out pitching, and every once in a while we hit a home run,” she added.
On Aug. 6, Wild Well Control representatives Casey Davis and Dr. Matthew Minson visited the area. They commissioners said they took them to lunch on their own dime. Then last week the commissioners were informed of the company’s decision to locate a team in the area.
McCracken said they didn’t expect an answer so quickly.
“We saw this need, reacted, and not it’s come to fruition,” said McCracken.
Sobel thanked a number of people, including Don Shaw of the Clearfield-Lawrence Joint Airport Authority, Moena Restaurant, his fellow commissioners, Sen. Casey and Shaffer. He added that having the response team in Clearfield County is good both economically and environmentally.
“Pennsylvania has always been considered the Keystone State,” said Sobel. “Clearfield County is the keystone to the Marcellus Shale region.”
The response team is slated to begin moving equipment and gear to the area on Sept. 1.