Friday, January 27, 2023

DEP Releases Bid Solicitation To Plug 19 Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells In Forest County All At Taxpayer Expense

On January 26, DEP released another bid package to plug 19 more abandoned conventional natural gas wells in Forest County at taxpayer expense under the new federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law well plugging program.

The official solicitations are made through the website, like all major DEP contracts. 

The new package includes--

-- Forest County: 19 abandoned conventional natural gas wells in Farmington and Highland Townships, Clarion County and Green and Barnett Townships.  Click Here for more information.

On January 19, DEP released these bid packages--

-- Clarion County: 23 abandoned natural gas wells in Farmington, Knox, and Washington Townships and Hawthorn Borough.  Click Here for more information.

-- Clarion County: 20 abandoned natural gas wells in Beaver, Richland, and Licking Townships.  Click Here for more information.

On January 12, DEP released bid packages to plug 38 abandoned wells at taxpayer expense--

-- Venango County: 19 abandoned natural gas wells in Sugarcreek Borough and Cranberry Township.  Click Here for more information.

-- Venango County: 19 abandoned natural gas wells in Cornplanter Township.  Click Here for more information.

On January 5, DEP released bid packages for 46 conventional gas wells--

-- Armstrong County: 15 abandoned conventional natural gas wells in Boggs, Cowanshannock, Valley, and Wayne Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 18.  Click Here for more information.

-- Armstrong County: 17 abandoned conventional natural gas wells in Bethel, Kittanning, Manor, Gilpin, and South Buffalo Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 19.  Click Here for more information.

--Washington County: 14 abandoned conventional natural gas wells in Cecil, North Franklin, Buffalo, and Canton Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 11.  Click Here for more information.

On January 10, DEP Acting Secretary Ramex Ziadeh told DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council private contractors bid approximately $7.5 million to plug the first 79 abandoned conventional natural gas wells under the new federal program.

The average taxpayer cost of plugging those wells was a little over $95,000.

For more information on the federal well plugging program, visit DEP’s Oil & Gas Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program webpage.

New Well Abandonments

On December 29, DEP issued a report on conventional oil and gas operator compliance saying the most frequent environmental, health and safety violation between 2017 and through 2021 was new oil and gas well abandonments.  Read more here.

The report said conventional oil and gas drillers were issued 3,123 notices of violations for new well abandonments and 217 violations for failure to plug a well to stop the vertical flow of fluids or gas out of the well.  Read more here.

Wells abandoned by conventional operators must all be plugged at taxpayer expense.  Conventional operators don’t contribute a dime.  By some estimates taxpayers are now on the hook for over $5.1 billion in conventional well plugging costs.  Read more here.

The report made a series of recommendations on how to prevent new well abandonments.  Read more here.

PA DEP Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Jan. 14  to 20  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - Jan. 21  [PaEN]

PA Oil & Gas Industry Compliance Reports:

-- PA Oil & Gas Industry Has Record Year: Cost, Criminal Convictions Up; $3.1 Million In Penalties Collected; Record Number Of Violations Issued; Major Compliance Issues Uncovered; Evidence Of Health Impacts Mounts

-- DEP Report Finds: Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Routinely Abandon Wells; Fail To Report How Millions Of Gallons Of Waste Is Disposed; And Non-Compliance Is An ‘Acceptable Norm’


-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: PA Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Abandoned Thousands Of Natural Gas Wells Over 5 Years, Ignored State Law, DEP Report Says 

-- Center For Coalfield Justice Blog: DEP Reports Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Has A Culture Of Noncompliance Not Likely To Change Soon, More Resources, Updated Regulations Needed

-- Environmental Health News: What Happens If The Largest Owner Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wells In The U.S. [Diversified Energy]  Goes Bankrupt? 

-- Spotlight PA-Stephen Caruso: Gov. Shapiro on banning new leases for oil & gas drilling in state parks/forests: "At this time, we have no plans to change that."

-- Bob Donnan’s Blog: UPMC, Allegheny Health Network Promote Natural Gas Despite Known Health Risks 

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Environmental Health Project Panel Warns Against Using Natural Gas For Hydrogen Hubs

-- PennFuture Blog: What We Learned During Christmas Deep Freeze - You Can’t Rely On Natural Gas To Generate Electric Power When It’s Cold - By Rob Altenburg

Related Articles This Week:

-- DEP Blog: Plugging PA’s Abandoned Conventional Oil And Gas Wells

-- Natural Gas Industry, Senate Republicans Launch Effort To Unleash The Industry, Reduce Regulation, Call For Automatic Approval Of Permits, Limit Public Comments  [PaEN] 

-- House Republicans Name Advocate For Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Rep. Martin Causer Chair Of House Environmental Committee  [PaEN]

-- DCED’s Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling Advisory Council Meets Feb. 16  [PaEN]

-- PUC: Act 13 Per Well Drilling Impact Fee To Increase For Calendar Year 2022 Nearly 28% For Unconventional Shale Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- Damascus Citizens For Sustainability Files Lawsuit Challenging The Delaware River Basin Commission Fracking Wastewater Rule Generally And For Allowing Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Creating Widespread Pollution  [PaEN]

-- FracTracker Alliance Seeking Information On Use Of Drones For Environmental Monitoring Work; Feb. 3 Online Meeting Set On Oil & Gas Facility Monitoring Project  [PaEN]

-- Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community  Feb. 1 Monthly Eyes On Shell Meeting. 7:30 p.m.

[Posted: January 27, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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