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Compressor station explosion shuts down 10 Pennsylvania shale gas wells

02 April 2012

An explosion that ripped the roof off a Williams Energy gas compressor station linked to at least 10 Marcellus Shale wells in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, was probably caused by a leaking gas pipeline inside the station, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The Lathrop compressor station served 10 Marcellus Shale gas wells
The Lathrop compressor station served 10 Marcellus Shale gas wells

The Lathrop compressor station in Springville Township, which houses seven compressors, was heavily damaged in the explosion  and subsequent fire, and has been shut down, as have all the wells that supply it. All 10 workers escaped prior to the blast and none were injured. Two people in a house about 1,500 feet from the compressor station voluntarily evacuated, said Colleen Connolly, a DEP spokeswoman.

Connolly said: “An alarm was sounded in the station and the gas was stopped. The workers evacuated immediately, then a spark apparently ignited the explosion.”

Helen Humphries, a Williams Energy spokeswoman, said the station’s automatic emergency shutdown equipment worked properly to isolate and minimise the explosion and fire. According to the company the Lathrop compressor station pumped approximately 365 million cubic feet of gas per day.


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