Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 17 to 23 - Federal Well Plugging Project & Dimock Area Shale Gas Well Inspections; Leaking Plugged Conventional Wells; Frack Out Investigation

From June 17 to 23,
DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database shows oil and gas inspectors filed 531 inspection entries that resulted in reporting 19 violations of environmental regulations-- 10 violations by the conventional oil and gas industry and 9 violations by the unconventional shale natural gas industry.

[Note: No inspection results were reported for June 19, 2023.]

So far this year-- as of June 17-- DEP issued 3,271 formal notices of violation to conventional operators and 722 to unconventional shale gas operators based on 7,453 inspections of conventional facilities and 11,694 inspections of unconventional shale gas facilities.

Well Abandonments

DEP issued or continued notices of violations for three more abandoned conventional wells last week.

A June 21 DEP inspection of the John Fendya 1 and Leonard Krzywicki 1 conventional wells operated by Medina Res Dev Co. LLC in Washington Township, Erie County found them to be abandoned and in violation of plugging requirements.

Neither well had been inspected in 10 years.

DEP requested the operator to provide a written report on how they will bring the wells into compliance by July 26, 2023.  [Fendya Inspection Report]  [Krzywicki Inspection Report]

On June 20, in response to a report to the Hermitage Fire Department in Mercer County on June 17, DEP inspected the conventional gas well known as McBurney 1 operated by OWS Acquisition Co LLC in Hermitage City and found it leaking natural gas.

DEP’s inspection report continued notices of violation for abandoning the well without plugging it (originally issued October 25, 2021), failure to notify the agency of defective well equipment, failure to construct and operate the well according to regulations and failure to submit an annual production and waste generation report and mechanical integrity report.

DEP requested the operator to provide a written response by July 21, 2023 on how they will bring the well into compliance.

Leaking Plugged Wells

On June 23, DEP inspected an Eastern Gas Trans & Storage Inc. conventional gas well known as PA Forests & Waters Dept. [DCNR] Tract 34C2 and found it to be leaking a 100% concentration of methane.

The well is located in Benezette Township, Elk County.

DEP’s inspection report notes this well was plugged in 1990, but the company just sent DEP a well plugging certificate in 2022.

DEP notified the company and they came out and confirmed it was leaking methane, but so far DEP has not received a commitment to replug the well.

The company was requested to provide a written report by July 7, 2023 on how it will bring the well into compliance.

On June 21, DEP inspected the Warrent 3410 Phase 7 conventional gas well on Allegheny National Forest land operated by Catalyst Energy, Inc. in Lafayette Township, McKean County and found it “blowing.”

The inspector said he didn’t get any gas reading, but “if you throw a leaf over the hole it blows back” about every 30 seconds.

The inspector contacted the company who said the well was plugged in 2003 but they cannot produce a plugging certificate.

The DEP inspection report noted no violations.

Frack Out Investigation

On June 21, in response to a citizen complaint about natural gas migration, DEP inspected the Brownsdale 1 conventional gas well-- unknown operator-- in Forward Township, Butler County.

The DEP inspection report noted a bubbling sound coming from the well and measured methane in the well. 

DEP noted this was part of an investigation of a “communication event” while Penn Energy was conducting fracking operations at the McElhinny shale gas well pad 2,200 feet away from the Brownsdale 1 well.

Penn Energy had just finished setting cement in the Brownsdale well on June 15.

Unconventional Shale Gas

On June 20, DEP inspection reports for the Sturgies B Pad unconventional shale gas wells #1003H and #1007H operated by STL Resources LLC in Gallagher Township, Clinton County found they were producing gas and the intermediate annulus vent was open and vented to the atmosphere and methane was detected at the vent, but no combustible gas was found in the area immediately surrounding the well.

On January 22, 2021, DEP issued notices of violation to both wells for failure of the operator to notify the Department of defective well casing or cementing.  Both those violations were continued in the #1003H and #1007H inspection reports.

On June 21, DEP responded to a report of a production wastewater spill from PA General Energy Co. LLC at its Reed Run Potato Creek unconventional shale gas well pad A in Norwich Township, McKean County.

DEP’s inspection report said the spill happened onsite when a wastewater truck was picking up waste at the well pad.  The operator took immediate steps to remediate the area of the spill, but DEP issued notices of violation for the spill.

On June 20, DEP inspected the Greenzweig Water Reclamation Impoundments operated by SWN Prod Co Inc. in Herrick Township, Bradford County and found construction still underway on erosion and sedimentation controls and a pipeline being installed from the well pad location.

DEP’s inspection report continued violations for failure to install adequate Best Management Practice downslope from the construction, failure to maintain those BMPs and the need to repair the bio retention basin.

Federal Well Plugging Site Inspections

Last week, DEP filed site inspection reports on 34 well plugging sites being conducted under the new federal Well Plugging Program in Allegheny County (Ross Township, Moon Township), Armstrong County (Gilpin Township, Manor Township), McKean County (Eldred Township, Otto Township), Potter County (Eulalia Township) and Venango County (Cranberry Township).

No violations were found.

Coterra Energy - Dimock Twp. Area Inspections

On June 20, 21 and 22, DEP conducted a focused effort to inspect 15 unconventional shale gas well pads owned by Coterra Energy Inc. in and around Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

Well pads were inspected in Dimock Township (5), Lenox Township (7) and Bridgewater Township (3).

DEP reported no violations were found.

Coterra Energy Inc. signed a consent order with DEP in December, 2022 that allowed them to resume shale gas drilling in a 9 square mile Dimock/Carter Road Area of Susquehanna County after they were held responsible for significant water supply protection violations.  Read more here.

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: OWS Acquisition leaking well, Medina Res Dev Co LLC Krzywicki 1 well; STL Resources shale gas well, Eastern Gas Trans DCNR leaking well;  bottom 3- SWN Prod Co LLC Greenzweig Water Reclamation Impoundment.)

[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 17 to 23 - Federal Well Plugging Project & Dimock Area Shale Gas Well Inspections; Leaking Plugged Conventional Wells; Frack Out Investigation  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 24  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts 47 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 24 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]   

NewsClips This Week:

-- Marcellus Drilling News: Punxsutawney Phil Getting A New Neighbor - Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- TribLive: Grant Twp., Indiana County Community’s Fight To Stop An Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well

-- TribLive: Murrysville, Plum Officials Deal With Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well Issues In Allegheny County 

-- WTAE: Washington County Homeowner Takes On Gas Drilling Companies In Court 

-- KDKA: Washington County Family Takes 2 Gas Companies To Court Over Fracking Health Concerns 

-- WTAE: 6 Leaking Abandoned Conventional Wells In Hanover Twp., Washington County Contaminated Water Supply, Releasing Natural Gas In And Next To Hillman State Park 

Related Articles This Week:

-- 3 Days That Shook Washington County: Natural Gas Plant Explosion; Pipeline Leak Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas; 10,000 Gallon Spill At Compressor Station  [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee Meets June 26 To Consider Nomination Of Richard Negrin As DEP Secretary; Energy Information Office, Electric Billing Legislation  [PaEN] 

-- House Republicans, Democrats Introduce Legislation To Prevent The Court System From Being Used By Powerful Interests To Silence Citizen Critics  [PaEN] 

-- House Environmental Committee Holds June 27 Meeting On Bills Increasing Setback Distances From Natural Gas Infrastructure, 2-Year Moratorium On Cryptocurrency Air Permits  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves Water Withdrawal Projects, Including 12 Related To Shale Natural Gas Drilling  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves 32 Shale Gas Well Pad Water Use Permits In Bradford, Clearfield, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming Counties  [PaEN] 

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Advises Water Withdrawal Permit Holders To Review Low Flow Water Restrictions And Begin Planning For Alternative Operations  [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] 

-- Senate Republicans Pass Bill To Significantly Narrow The Grounds For Appealing DEP Environmental Permit Actions  [PaEN]

-- Senate Environmental Committee Reports Out Bills Letting Polluters Decide When To Report Spills And CO2 Injection Well Primacy By Party-Line Votes  [PaEN] 

-- DEP To Hold July 25 Hearing On Proposed Roulette Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In Potter County  [PaEN] 

-- EPA Issues Permit For Class IID Oil & Gas Waste Underground Injection Well In Jefferson County  [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]

-- PUC Distributes A Record $278.8 Million In Act 13 Shale Gas Drilling Impact Fee Revenue; Conventional Oil/Gas Operators Do Not Pay These Fees  [PaEN] 

[Posted: June 24, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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