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Ohio Utica Shale

Three hurt in West Virginia well explosion

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

From the Associated Press today:

A spark from a natural gas drilling operation in north-central West Virginia ignited methane gas several hundred feet underground early Friday, sending up a fireball and triggering a blaze that officials said burned for about an hour on the floor of the rig.

Three workers were injured, two seriously enough to be airlifted to a hospital after the fire at the Antero Resources site near Sycamore in Harrison County.

The fire was quickly extinguished and the well pad was in a rural area, so it posed no danger to the public.

Two victims were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, said Sgt. Heather Mick of the Harrison County 911 Center. A third was transported by ambulance.

Their conditions weren't immediately available, but state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise said one had returned to the job site by 9 a.m.

Workers were in the early stages of drilling a Marcellus shale gas well, Aluise said. The drill was about 400 feet deep when they began to withdraw it, creating a spark that ignited the methane. That created more of a fireball than an explosion, he said.

The accident happened at the Cottrill No. 3 well on Antero's Southern pad, and Aluise said the crew doing the work was with Hall Drilling LLC of Ellenboro.

Neither Hall Drilling nor Colorado-based Antero immediately returned messages Friday.

Aluise said Antero voluntarily shut down the operation, and a DEP investigation is under way.

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ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.