Chesapeake Shuts Pennsylvania Gas Wells

(Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 22, 2011

Chesapeake on Thursday suspended the controversial drilling method of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," at all of its wells throughout Pennsylvania until it determines the cause of this week's spill in the northern part of the state, the Associated Press reported.

The company -- the biggest driller of natural gas in the shale formations of Pennsylvania -- said crews had significantly reduced the flow of chemical-laced water from its out-of-control well near Canton, in Bradford County, Pa.

Chesapeake spokesman Brian Grove said the exact cause of Tuesday night's breach wasn't known, but the leak was located in a wellhead connection.

Thousands of gallons of drilling fluids were spilled. They escaped containment, crossed over farm fields and went into nearby Towanda Creek.

Grove told the AP that initial testing of waterways in the area had shown "minimal impact, if any."

The spill forced the temporary evacuation of some families, but no one was injured.

Fracking involves blasting shale rock with a mix of water, sand and chemicals at high speeds to crack open gas-bearing rock.

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