Friday, May 19, 2023

Struggle To Plug Tatonka Oil Co. LLC’s Nancy 13 Conventional Well Leaking Gas, Production Wastewater Since 2018; Citizen Complaint Finds ‘Bubbling’ Gas Well

On May 17, 2023, a DEP followup inspection at a
Tatonka Oil Co. LLC conventional well site known as Nancy 13 in Deerfield Township, Warren County found it to be still venting natural gas to the atmosphere.  [DEP inspection report]

DEP noted a continuing violation for abandoning the well without plugging it and for drilling, altering or operating a well without a permit.

Going back in the compliance history of Nancy 13, a DEP inspection report dated December 20, 2018 noted the well was leaking brine, gas was venting from the well casing and the value used for fracking the well was still on the wellhead, but no violations were listed.  [DEP inspection report]

On February 8, 2019, a DEP inspection report noted Commonwealth Court had issued an order to Tatonka Oil Co. LLC to plug a number of wells it operated, including, the Nancy 13 well.  [DEP inspection report]

DEP issued the first notice of violation to the Nancy 13 well for abandoning the well without plugging it and operating a well without a permit on June 3, 2019.  [DEP inspection report]

Routine DEP inspections reports after June 2019 noted continuing violations for abandoning the well and operating the well without a permit.

A July 27, 2021 DEP inspection report notes the ownership of the Tatonka Oil Co. LLC had changed and that a plugging contractor was due on site to assess the well for plugging.  [DEP inspection report]

DEP has inspected this well routinely since that time and reports the same continuing violations and frequently that a plugging contractor was due on the site, after talking to the company representative.

The May 17, 2023 DEP inspection noted the latest phone conversation in February of 2023 with Tatonka staff indicated plugging of the Nancy 13 well would commence in April or May 2023.

DEP eFACTS records show Tatonka Oil Co. LLC operates 149 conventional oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania.

Tatonka Oil was also issued notices of violation in March 2020 and again in December 2022 for failing to submit annual production and waste generation and well integrity reports for multiple wells.

No further follow up was indicated in the eFACTS records.

Tatonka Oil Co. LLC has a PO Box address in Mentor, Ohio.

Citizen Complaint - Well Venting Gas

In response to a citizen complaint, on May 15 DEP inspected two conventional gas wells owned by John Schenker in Cussewago Township, Crawford County known as James R. Brown 1 and Ridgefield Farms 6.

Both wells had not been inspected in 10 years.

The inspector heard “bubbling” coming from the ground around the casing of the James R. Brown 1 well, rusted piping and well head, 4,200 gallon steel production wastewater tank and other equipment at the site.  [DEP inspection report]

No production and waste generation report was submitted to DEP since 2006 and no well integrity report had ever been submitted to DEP.

The production and waste report is critical to understanding how much wastewater and other waste those wells generated and where it was disposed of.

The annual integrity report is critical because it helps ensure the operator is taking the steps needed to prevent natural gas, oil or contaminated water leaks from oil and gas wells.

Notice of violations were issued for failure to plug the well upon abandoning it and failure to submit well integrity and production and waste generation reports.

At the Ridgefield Farms 6 well, the inspector found the well had a house gas connection, a rusting 2,100 gallon production wastewater tank without secondary containment and rusting pipe connections and wellhead.

No production and waste generation report was submitted to DEP since 2006 and no well integrity report had ever been submitted to DEP.

Notice of violations were issued for failure to file  the well integrity and production and waste generation reports. [DEP inspection report]

In both cases, DEP requested a written response to the violations by June 13, 2023 along with a plan for how the conventional well operator will bring the wells into compliance.

Abandoned Well NOVs

DEP issued six notices of violation for abandoning wells without plugging them to-- Kenic Gas & Oil Company (2 wells in Butler County), John Schenker (1 well in Crawford County), Pennfield Energy LLC (2 wells in Venango County), and Tatonka Oil Co. LLC (1 well in Warren County).

Well Plugging

DEP inspected 32 sites last week related to well plugging activities--

Allegheny County

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Moon Twp. - Graham 1 (conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Ross Twp. - Jacks Run 3 (conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Emsworth Boro - Camp Horne Road 1 (conventional)

Armstrong County

-- Coastal Energy SVC LLC -  Burrell Twp. - J. Davis 3116, R&A Scott I Well (conventional)

Jefferson County

-- Diversified Prod LLC -  Winslow Twp. - Rochester & PGH Coal (2 wells) (conventional)

-- EQT Prod Co. - Boggs Twp. - J.H. Moore 3294 (conventional)

Greene County

-- CNX Gas Co. LLC - Wayne Twp. - Blacksville II (3 wells) (conventional)

McKean County

-- Enervest OPR LLC - Lafayette Twp. - Tally Ho (13 wells) (conventional)

-- Willard M. Cline - Bradford City - Newell 10 (conventional)

-- Willard M. Cline - Bradford Twp. - Adams 23 (conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Otto Twp. - Danials 1 (conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Otto Twp. - Brewer 1(conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Eldred Twp. - Loop 1W (conventional)

-- DEP Federal Well Plugging - Eldred Twp. - Messer 6 (conventional)

Venango County

-- Pennfield Energy LLC - Mineral Twp. - H.McDowell 742 Wells 8 & 17 (conventional)

-- Unknown Operator - Oilcreek Twp. - Waychoff 2 (conventional)

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.

[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.]

(Photos: top- Nancy 13 circa 2018, Nancy 13 2023; bottom- James R. Brown 1 wellhead and tank, and Ridgefield Farms 6 wellhead and tank.)

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Struggle To Plug Tatonka Oil Co. LLC’s Nancy 13 Conventional Well Leaking Gas, Production Wastewater Since 2018; Citizen Complaint Finds ‘Bubbling’ Gas Well  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - May 20   [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts 61 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In May 20 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]  

Related Articles This Week:

-- Olympus Energy Shale Gas Driller Expresses Fear Municipalities Will Use Their DEP Compliance Record With Hundreds Of Violations To Help Make Local Land Use Decisions On Oil & Gas Infrastructure Projects  [PaEN]

-- Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group Asks DCNR To Protect State Forest Land From Seneca Shale Gas Drilling Well Pad, Comply With PA Supreme Court Decision, Protect Recreation, Wildlife  [PaEN] 

-- Environmental Groups Launched Effort May 4 Asking For Update On Studies Of Health Impacts Of Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities, So Far No Response  [PaEN] 

-- House Environmental Committee Meets May 23 To Consider Bills To Help Prevent The Routine Abandonment Of 561 Conventional Oil/Gas Wells A Year; Authorize Streambank Fencing  [PaEN]

-- Zefiro Methane Corp. Acquires PA-Based Plants & Goodwin Well Plugging Firm To Create Methane Emission Offsets  [PaEN]

-- Citizens Voice Editorial: PA Supreme Court Reaffirms Environmental Quality Is A Right Not A Luxury In Shale Gas Drilling Ruling  [PaEN]

-- PUC Alerts Consumers To Electricity Price Changes Coming June 1-- From 20.7% Increase To 17% Decrease; Driven By Price Of Natural Gas  [PaEN]

-- Utility Dive: North American Electric Reliability Corp Issued Highest Alert Ever Urging Electric Generators, Transmission Owners To Take Measures To Prepare For Winter After Generator Nonperformance In 2018, 2021, 2022

-- NRDC: PJM Interconnection Delays In Queue To Approve Renewable Energy Projects Threatens State Transition To Clean Energy; PJM Has Approved 35,000 MW Of Renewables Not Yet Connected  [PaEN]

[Posted: May 19, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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