Statoil Fined for OH Fracking Well Fire

Friday, September 18, 2015 @ 04:09 PM gHale

A fire at a Statoil natural gas fracking well that forced evacuations and killed thousands of fish in eastern Ohio last summer will result in fines of about $223,000.

Environmental regulators announced the fines for the loss of aquatic species, spill cleanup and water quality violations from the well-pad fire in June 2014, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Natural Resources said.

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Authorities said a tubing malfunction led to the fire that spread to about 20 trucks on the pad. There were no injuries in the incident.

The regulators said the company can resume fracking the Monroe County well after it pays the fines.

The Department of Natural Resources found fluids left the well pad in violation of state law and the company failed to maintain operational control on it. The agency also said the company disposed of brine fluid used in fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in an unapproved method.

Investigators confirmed the fluids from the well pad depleted oxygen levels in a nearby creek, where about 70,000 fish died.