Published February 20, 2014
Oil giant Chevron offered residents in a rural Pennsylvania town a free pizza and soda after one of its fracking wells exploded last week presumably killing a worker and sending shockwaves felt about a half mile away, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The letter was sent to residents in the southwestern town of Bobtown on February 16. The company said it recognized "the effect this had on the community."
It continued, "We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors." A gift certificate was tucked inside the letter offering residents a pizza and 2-liter soda, the report said. The move drew some criticism for the company that reportedly pulled in $21 billion in profits in 2013.
The Inquirer blog writer for Attytood wrote, "I see a possible new marketing campaign for Chevron: We guarantee your fracking rig won't explode, or your pizza is free!" Bobtown Pizza told the paper that about 100 certificates were distributed by Chevron.
The Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said the well was located in a rural area where no homes or schools are located nearby. He said a DEP team at the site found no signs of threats to public health, noting that the fire was burning off volatile organic compounds in the gas. However, the fire was burning so hot that DEP crews have had to stay about 300 yards away, he said.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, however, reported that nearby residents recalled the explosion as sounding like a jet engine "going 5 feet above your house." The fire burned for five days.
Poister said the agency now suspects the explosion and fire occurred on the surface and didn't happen inside the well itself.
Chevron had previously completed drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the well and was in the final stages of using steel pipe to hook it up to a pipeline distribution network for production, he said.