Saturday, October 14, 2023

Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - October 7 to 13 - More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Spills; Venting Gas; Emergency Well Plugging

From October 7 to 13
DEP’s Oil and Gas Compliance Database shows oil and gas inspectors filed 449 inspection entries.
              So far this year-- as of October 6-- 

-- NOVs Issued In Last Week: 86 conventional, 9 unconventional

-- Year To Date - NOVs Issued: 5,244 conventional and 1,026 unconventional

-- Inspections Last Week: 293 conventional and 270 unconventional

-- Year To Date - Inspections: 12,098 conventional and 18,261 unconventional

-- Wells Drilled Last Week: 4 conventional and 13 unconventional

-- Year To Date Wells Drilled: 148 conventional and 328 unconventional

More Abandoned Conventional Wells

On October 12, 2023, DEP inspected  conventional wells Amer Window 1 in Washington Township and Rod & Gun 277 in Belle Vernon Borough, Fayette County operated by Bemorich, Inc. and found they were both abandoned.

The operator, who accompanied DEP on the inspection, also failed to submit annual mechanical integrity and production and waste generation reports.

DEP issued notices of violation and gave the operator until November 12, 2023 to submit a written report on how they will bring the well back into compliance.  [DEP inspection report - Window 1 well]

Emergency Well Plugging

On October 10, 2023, DEP inspected the site of an emergency conventional oil well plugging in Cranberry Township, Venango County.

The Lower Twomile 1 well has been plugged and a bridge and containment structures have been removed from the stream channel that were required to get access to the well.  Oil absorbent booms will remain in the stream channel until the site is reclaimed.  [DEP inspection report.]

Village Of Reno Permanent Water Replacement

On October 13, The Derrick reported the Franklin General Authority in Venango County is considering a request for a permanent water connection to the Village of Reno water supply system to provide 36,000 gallons of water a day to replace the water source lost in July as a result of a conventional oil well wastewater spill.

Aqua Pennsylvania made the request for the interconnection to the Franklin General Authority to help avoid the cost of trucking water to the Reno water system daily.  Read more here.

Well Spills/Releases

On October 5, 2023, DEP was notified by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC of a spill of approximately 150 gallons of methanol at the Crain Shale Gas Well Pad in Rome Township, Bradford County.

DEP arrived on site on October 6 at 10:25 a.m.

The methanol spilled from a container being moved by a forklift. A water truck was used to recover standing fluid and the impacted area was excavated and the material set aside and covered.  There was no runoff from the pad.

Notices of violation were issued related to the spill and failing to contain regulated substances.

The October 6, 2023 DEP inspection report said-- “there was no evidence observed indicating that the release was not properly remediated.”

DEP requested the operator to submit a written report by October 22, 2023 on how they will bring the well pad into compliance.

On October 12, 2023, DEP inspected a shale gas well pad at the DCNR 007 Pad K in Delmar Township, Tioga County operated by Seneca Resources Co LLC in response to a notification of a spill on the pad.

DEP found a value that had not been closed during fracking operations pushed fresh water out of a holding tank and sprayed a mist of fluid across the frac site secondary containment onto the unprotected well pad.

Work had begun to excavate the contaminated pad material and so far three unlined dumpsters had been filled.

DEP issued notices of violation but no follow up actions by the operator were specified.  DEP suggested the dumpsters be lined. [DEP inspection report]

On October 10, 2023, DEP did an inspection as a result of a complaint of the Hetrick 4 conventional well in Washington Township, Jefferson County operated by Diversified Prod LLC and found there was a release of production wastewater from a patched tank.

DEP noted the operator had begun excavating contaminated soil and moved the leaking wastewater tank.

DEP issued notices of violation and requested the operator to submit a written plan by November 2, 2023 on how they plan to bring the well into compliance.  [DEP inspection report]

No Compliance Progress

On October 12, 2023, DEP inspected the Eugene Engleskirger 2 conventional well in Canal Township, Venango County operated by Ows Energy LLC and found there was no progress in correcting violations first issued on March 30, 2023.

DEP reported  “two steel tanks remain onsite and are not suitable for proper storage of production fluids” from the producing well.  The tanks should have been removed.

DEP issued fresh notices of violation and requested the operator to submit a written report by October 27, 2023 on how they plan to bring the site into compliance.  [DEP inspection report]

Conventional Gas Leaks/Venting

On October 10, 2023, DEP inspected the Hobo Ventures conventional gas well in East Bethlehem Township, Washington County operated by Patriot Exploration Corp and found a gas leak in a pipeline valve running from the well.

The operator was notified of the leak and DEP said they expect to have it repaired shortly.  No violations issues.  [DEP inspection report]

On October 12, 2023, DEP inspected two newly drilled conventional gas wells-- WT 2850 Lot 8 32 and Lot 8 33-- in Howe Township, Forest County operated by Pennhills Resources LLC and found them venting gas to the atmosphere, as is the normal procedure.

Drill cuttings were directed into a line pit.  Gathering pipelines have been run up to the wells.  No violations were issued.  [DEP inspection report - Lot 8 32]

On October 10, 2023, DEP inspected two conventional gas wells-- Warren State Hospital 2 & 3 in Conewango Township, Warren County operated by William Southwell & Son Oil due to a concern about possible natural gas emission leaking into the atmosphere.

DEP said the operator was in the process of making repairs to both wells to stop the leaks.  No violations issued.   [DEP inspection report - Warren Hospital 2]

Leaking Gas?

On October 12, 2023, DEP inspected the Lot 9 P-22 conventional gas well in Sheffield Township, Warren County operated by Cameron Energy Co.

There was no indication in the inspection report what the issue was, but it said, “Spoke with the operator and made them aware of the issue, they indicated they will be investigating the well as soon as possible.”

The inspection report also said, “Contractors notified the department that they put new packing in at the wellhead and tightened all fittings. A follow up inspection will be conducted to ensure repairs have been completed.”

So it is likely the well was leaking or venting natural gas to the atmosphere.

No notices of violation were issued.  [DEP inspection report]

Three other conventional gas wells in this same area were inspected by DEP on September 25, 2023-- Lot 9 DR, Lot 9 P-21 and Lot 9 P-24-- also operated by Cameron Energy Co.  

DEP found them to have the exact same issue left unidentified in DEP’s inspection reports.  Read more here.

There was no notation of a gas leak in the reports, and no notices of violation issued, but all three reports said, “Spoke with the operator and made them aware of the issue, they indicated they will be investigating the well as soon as possible. Contractors will notify the department throughout their progress. A follow up inspection will be conducted once repairs have been made.”  [DEP inspection report + photos]

The Oil and Gas Program does not routinely issue notices of violations for natural gas leaks unless they pose a public safety hazard. 

The DEP Air Quality Program adopted final regulations in April setting limits on volatile organic compound emissions that also limit methane methane emissions.  [Read more here.] It was unknown whether these incidents were referred to the Air Quality Program.

Gas Storage Facilities

DEP inspected more than a dozen conventional gas wells serving the Belmouth and St. Mary’s Underground Gas Storage Facilities in Elk County operated by National Fuel Gas and found no violations or leaks.

Federal Well Plugging Sites

DEP inspected federal well plugging project sites in Armstrong, Clarion (Cook Forest), Venango and Washington counties and found no violations.

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 and the Inspection Reports Viewer.

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- Chesapeake Appalachia LLC shale gas well pad methanol spill area; Patriot Exploration Corp leaking pipeline value; Pennhills Resources LLC two new conventional gas wells venting to the atmosphere; middle- Bemorich, Inc. abandoned conventional well; Diversified Prod Co conventional wastewater tank leak; Seneca Resources Co LLC contaminated soil excavation from leak on DCNR shale gas well pad, leaking contaminated soil dumpsters;  bottom- Emergency conventional oil well plugging in Venango County (2); William Southwell & Son Oil leaking conventional gas well; Ows Energy LLC one of two rusted conventional well production wastewater tanks.)

[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 Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - October 7 to 13 - More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Spills; Venting Gas; Emergency Well Plugging  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - October 14 [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posted 55 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In October 14 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Still Fighting To Make Road Dumping Its Wastewater Legal; DEP Introduces Concepts Of A ‘Life Insurance Policy’ For Plugging Wells; Certified 3rd Party Inspectors  [PaEN]

-- The Derrick: Permanent Alternate Water Supply Being Considered For Village Of Reno, Venango County After Contamination By Conventional Oil Well Wastewater Spill  [PaEN] 

-- Vice Chair Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council Asks DEP To Report On University Of Pittsburgh Study That Found At Least 800,000 Tons Of Oil & Gas Production Waste Sent To Landfills Was Unaccounted For In One Year  [PaEN]

-- DEP Reports Shale Gas Operations Sent Over 138,000 Cubic Feet Of Radioactive TENORM Waste To Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facilities For Disposal In 2022 - Over  911,000 Cubic Feet Since 2017  [PaEN]

-- DEP Invites Comments At Nov. 14 Hearing On Air Quality Permit For Energy Transfer Natural Gas Liquids Marcus Hook Terminal In An EJ Area, Delaware County  [PaEN] 

-- Better Path Coalition: Oct. 18 Webinar Launching 9th Compendium Of Scientific, Medical Findings Demonstrating Risks, Harms Of Natural Gas Development, Infrastructure  [PaEN]

-- Sierra Club's Delaware County Team Hosts Oct. 16 Webinar On Lawsuit Challenging Law Preventing DEP From Protecting Public Health, Environment From Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- House Committee Meets Oct. 16 On Cryptocurrency Mining Moratorium Bill; Resolution To Study Potential Of Geothermal Energy From Abandoned Mine Pools  [PaEN] 

-- PJM Interconnection Formally Files Changes To Electric Capacity Market Rules With FERC Based Largely On Unreliability Of Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants During Winter Storm Elliot  [PaEN]

-- DOE Awards Natural Gas-Based Hydrogen Hub In Western PA, Renewable/Nuclear Power-Based Hydrogen Hub In Eastern PA; Reactions  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- The Allegheny Front: After Fayette County’s First Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permit Was Withdrawn From EPA; Residents Worry There May Be More To Come

-- TribLive: Some Plum Boro, Allegheny County Residents, Activists Push Back Against 2nd Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Post-Gazette: Plum Boro, Allegheny County, Environmental Group Go To Commonwealth Court Trying To Stop New Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Inside Climate News: Plum Boro, Allegheny County, Environmental Group Go To Commonwealth Court Trying To Stop New Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Plum Boro, Allegheny County Residents Battle Penneco, Zoning Board Over Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Warren Times: Land-For-Shale Gas Deal Between Game Commission, PA General Energy Will Result In New State Game Land In Warren County

-- Observer-Reporter: Local Couple First Natural Gas Leaseholders To Contribute To Giving Fund Account Created By EQT Natural Gas At Washington County Community Foundation  [EQT Matches Donations]  [Check EQT’s DEP Compliance Record here. ]

-- Observer-Reporter: Range Resources Welcomes 150 Female Students To Annual Power Of Her Event  [Check Range Resources DEP Compliance Record here.

-- Reading Eagle: Chocolate Company Pushes Back Against OSHA Finding Company Was Responsible For Deaths From Natural Gas Explosion

-- The Daily Item Letter: Fossil Fuels Have A History Of Being Unreliable

-- Warren Times: Gasoline Prices Fall In Region, But Not In Warren County  [In Middle Of Conventional Oil Drilling Country]

[Posted: October 14, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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