Saturday, June 17, 2023

Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 10 to 16 -- Leaking Conventional Wells; 5 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Using Tape To Repair Containment Liner

From June 10 to 16,
DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database shows oil and gas inspectors filed 651 inspection entries that resulted in reporting 67 violations of environmental regulations-- 61 violations by the conventional oil and gas industry and 6 violations by the unconventional shale natural gas industry.

So far this year-- as of June 9-- DEP issued 3,090 formal notices of violation to conventional operators and 709 to unconventional shale gas operators based on 7,169 inspections of conventional facilities and 11,264 inspections of unconventional shale gas facilities.

Leaking Conventional Wells

DEP received sample results on June 13 and 14 showing spills at a group of four conventional oil wells owned by Farrington & Hepler Gas & Oil Inc. in Economy Borough, Beaver County have not been remediated-- Sturm 1, 2, 3 and 6 wells. 

DEP noted the original notices of violation for the spills at these wells were issued on October 6, 2022 and the well operator has failed to provide a written response on how it will bring the well sites into compliance since then, despite repeated requests for action.

The violations remain outstanding.  [DEP inspection report - example of one well]

DEP requested a response from the operator by June 28, 2023.

A June 13 DEP inspection found the Steven & Sheryl Vanco 3 conventional oil well operated by Nucomer Energy LLC in Freehold Township, Warren County leaking crude oil and production wastewater.

An NOV was issued for failing to construct and operate the well according to Chapter 78 regulations.

The operator was requested to provide a written report by June 25, 2023 on how they plan to bring the well into compliance.  [DEP inspection report]

Abandonment Without Plugging

DEP inspections last week resulted in five notices of violations for wells abandoned without being plugged.

On June 13, DEP inspected a C & S Resources, Inc. conventional gas well in Conneaut Township, Erie County known as the Michael A. Seresun 1 well and found it to be abandoned.

The inspection also found a 100 barrel production wastewater tank on site and the operator failed to submit annual production and waste generation and well integrity reports.

These are continuing violations from when DEP first issued them on December 11, 2017.

DEP requested the operator to submit a written report by August 15, 2023 on how it will bring the well into compliance.  [DEP inspection report]

DEP inspections on June 15 of four Dannic Energy Corp conventional wells known as Truesdail 3, Truesdail 4, H. Van Epps Unit 1, H. Van Epps Unit 3 in Venango Township, Erie County found these wells to be abandoned without being plugged.

DEP noted none of these wells were inspected in the last 10 years.

Mixed Responses On 4 Conventional Wells After Abandonment NOVs

On June 12, DEP reported Marco Drilling Inc. responded to a notice of violation for abandoning a well without plugging it known as the J.A. Myers 1374 conventional well in Burrell Township, Armstrong County.  [DEP inspection report]

The company said they would be bringing a rig to the well site to evaluate the well and address the issues raised by DEP’s April 27, 2023 inspection of the site.

A June 14 follow-up inspection found Pennfield Energy LLC still has not brought well plugging equipment to the H, McDowell 8 &17 conventional wells in Mineral Township, Venango County.

The company said they would start plugging the wells on May 15.  They  also locked the entrance gate to the wells.

On June 12, DEP reported Medina Res Dev. Co. LLC responded to a notice of violation for abandoning a well without plugging it known as the Mongera 2 conventional well in Venango Township, Crawford County with a photo saying they posted a well ownership tag on the well.  

No other action was taken on the well abandonment NOV that was issued on June 5, 2023 by DEP.  

Medina had also not submitted a production and waste generation or mechanical integrity report for the well which had not been inspected since 1989 and the production wastewater tank was not within an earthen dike. [DEP inspection report]

Other Conventional Inspections

A June 15 inspection of the Enis 4 conventional well operated by Reclusive Energy LLC in Hamilton Township, McKean County found a leaking production wastewater storage tank.

DEP contacted the operator who met onside and agreed to arrange for a contractor to begin remediation of the site. 

DEP requested the operator to provide a written report on how he was going to bring the well into compliance by June 30, 2023.  [DEP inspection report]

On June 12, a follow-up DEP inspection found Cameron Energy continuing to make progress cleaning up crude oil spill from the Haight 6P conventional well in Howe Township, Forest County that began April 17, 2023.

Cameron removed debris in an attempt to re-naturalize one watercourse affected by the spill.  No sheen or free crude oil was observed in previously affected areas.

DEP advised to continue with a “passive approach” to the cleanup in order to prevent additional impact to the substrate of the stream.

Regular stream monitoring and collection of any recoverable produce should continue.  [DEP inspection report]

On June 14, DEP received a phone call from conventional gas well owner Audrey E. & Joseph E. Bauer in response to a June 5, 2023 notice of violation requesting the necessary forms to submit production and waste generation or mechanical integrity report for the Bauer ET UX 1 gas well.

PA General Energy Shawnee Water Withdrawal

A June 14 DEP administrative inspection report filed on the PA General Energy Shawnee Water Withdrawal in Gamble Township, Lycoming County “the buried intake vault, intake screen, wet well, and piping between intake and wet well of the Loyalsock/Shawnee Freshwater System project were all installed [last summer and fall] at sizes larger than what was proposed in the approved permit application E4129-133” in violation of Chapter 105 regulations.

“It is also a violation of the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act Section 18.(3) which states it is unlawful for any person to construct, enlarge, repair, alter any dam, water obstruction or encroachment contrary to the terms and conditions of a general or individual permit or the rules and regulations of the department.

“The work performed for this project was not according to the specifications of the permit which is a violation of 25 Pa. Code 105.44.”

The trigger for the inspection report was the fact that DEP received an email from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission on May 11, 2023 notifying the Department that PA General Energy Company LLC submitted an application to the SRBC requesting changes to PGEs Shawnee water intake design.

“For the Department to review the project’s effect on health, safety and the environment as required by 25 Pa. Code  105.14, a major amendment to the approved Ch. 105 JPA E4129-133 must be submitted to the Department.”  

DEP directed the company to contact DEP’s Oil  and  Gas permitting department with any questions.

The construction of PA General Energy Company’s Shawnee Water Withdrawal last summer on the Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek resulted in multiple Clean Streams Law violations, an out-of-court settlement with the Fish and Boat Commission for other violations and threatened the habitat of the rare Eastern Hellbender, Pennsylvania’s clean water ambassador.  Read more here.

MarkWest Compressor Station Brownfield Cleanup

At a June 12 meeting, Robinson Township Supervisors in Washington County were trying to get more information from MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources LLC about a 10,000 gallon spill of natural gas condensate that occurred at the Imperial Compressor Station and was the subject of a PA Bulletin Act 2 cleanup Notice of Intent published on June 10, according to Cathy Lodge a township resident who attended the meeting.

It was disclosed at the Township meeting MarkWest sent the notice of the new brownfield cleanup required by Act 2 to the wrong township.  Read more here.

Unconventional Shale Gas - Using Tape To Repair Liner

DEP’s June 14 inspection of Nucomer Energy LLC’s DR02 unconventional shale gas well pad and water impoundment in Hickory Township, Forest County found “numerous tears and holes are still present” in the secondary containment liner around production wastewater tanks on the well pad.

“Various patches are peeling and lifting” and tape was used in those patches is “an unacceptable permanent repair to the liner system.”

DEP continued violations for the condition of the containment liner, failure to restore the well site after drilling ended, failed to restore the water impoundment after 9 months and others.

These violations were originally issued on November 16, 2022, December 12, 2022 and February 23, 2023.

DEP gave the company until June 30, 2023 to submit a written report on how they plan to bring the site back into compliance.  [DEP inspection report + photos]

On June 15, DEP updated the violation record for the Chesapeake Appalachia LLC Balduzzi 1H-6H Well Pad in Wyalusing Township, Bradford County to reflect current regulations.

NOVs for defective casing and well cementing violations originally issued on May 18, 2011 and June 17, 2011 were recited to current defective casing and sell cementing regulations

Report Violations

To report oil and gas violations or any environmental emergency or complaint, visit DEP’s Environmental Complaint webpage.

Check These Resources

Visit DEP’s Compliance Reporting Database webpage to search their compliance records by date and operator.

Sign up for DEP’s eNOTICE service which sends you information on oil and gas and other permits submitted to DEP for review in your community.

(Photos: top--C&S Resources Inc. abandoned well; Nucomer Energy LLC abandoned well; Farrington & Helper Gas & Oil Inc. abandoned well; bottom- Leaking Reclusive Energy wastewater tank; Nucomer Energy LLC used tape to try to repair secondary containment liner.)

[Note: If you believe your company was listed in error, contact DEP’s Oil and Gas Program.]

[Note: These may not be all the NOVs issued to oil and gas companies during this time period.  Additional inspection reports may be added to DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database.]

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 10 to 16 -- Leaking Conventional Wells; 5 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Using Tape To Repair Containment Liner [PaEN]

-- DEP Finds PA General Energy Installed Its Shawnee Water Withdrawal On The Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek At Sizes Larger Than Authorized By Its SRBC, DEP Permits  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 17  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts 69 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 17 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 

Related Articles This Week:

-- Robinson Twp., Washington County Seeks Answers To Cleanup Of MarkWest Liberty Midstream 10,000 Gallon Spill Of Natural Gas Condensates After Company Sends Notice To Wrong Municipality  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Invites Comments On MarkWest Liberty Midstream Project To Expose 1 Mile+ Of 2 Natural Gas Pipelines To Prevent Longwall Coal Mining Damage In Washington County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Finds PA General Energy Installed Its Shawnee Water Withdrawal On The Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek At Sizes Larger Than Authorized By Its SRBC, DEP Permits  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts Solicitation For Bids To Plug 23 Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Waste Injection Wells Owned By ARG Resources, Inc. And Pennzoil Company In Elk County  [PaEN] 

-- Casey, Fetterman Announce $5.5 Million In Federal Funding To Plug Abandoned Conventional Oil/Gas Wells In The Allegheny National Forest  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Satellites, Drones, Special Cameras Join The Fight Against Methane/VOC Pollution From Oil/Gas Wells, Petrochemical Plants, Landfills, Coal Mines In Pennsylvania - By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN] 

-- PUC Vice Chairman: During Winter Storm Elliot We Learned Natural Gas Can Be An Intermittent Generator Of Electricity Just Like Renewables  [PaEN] 

-- S&P Global: Federal Inquiry Finds Same 3 Causes Driving U.S. Generate Outages In Extreme Cold - Reliability Of Natural Gas System Remains A Concern  [PaEN]   

[Posted: June 17, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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