Posts Tagged ‘Cudd Well Control’

Emergency crews set for Pa. wells

Pa. DEP: Bradford County-based unit can get to incident anywhere within 5 hours.

Experts trained to deal with catastrophic events at natural gas wells now will be stationed 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Pennsylvania.

Recent high-profile accidents at natural gas wells in Pennsylvania prompted the Department of Environmental Protection to arrange emergency response services with a leading company that is opening a new operation in the state, DEP Secretary John Hanger announced Monday.

CUDD Well Control will locate a new facility in Canton Township, Bradford County, which means a highly specialized emergency response crew will be located about five hours from any natural gas well in the state, according to a DEP press release.

By comparison, it took 16 hours for out-of-state crews to address a June 3 blowout in Clearfield County and 11 hours to extinguish a July 23 fire in Allegheny County. In both cases, well operators had to wait for response crews to fly in from Texas.

“Recent accidents in our state have shown that the natural gas industry lacks the training and equipment to respond quickly to accidents. This creates a tremendous danger to the public and the environment. When an accident occurs, we cannot wait 10 or more hours for a crew to fly in from halfway across the country,” said Hanger, adding that CUDD’s presence in the state will ensure fast, expert response to emergencies at well sites.

Dr. Tom Jiunta, founder of the Luzerne County-based Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, said that although he is happy to hear that expert emergency crews will be located closer to local gas wells, DEP’s response is “an after-the-fact remedy.”

Jiunta said he asked officials at a local zoning hearing how long it would take expert emergency responders to get to a well blow-out in Northeastern Pennsylvania and no one could provide an answer.

“It’s a double-edged sword. It’s good that we’ll have specialty crew in the state, but at the same time, it’s scary that we’re inviting an industrial process that needs to have a specialty response team nearby,” Jiunta said.

CUDD’s new operation will give Pennsylvania 16 specially trained well-control responders and a senior well-control responder in the state at all times. Senior responders can provide an initial assessment of emergency situations, advise local first responders and coordinate emergency response measures with other well control specialists.

Equipment at CUDD’s new facility will include: a 2,000-gallon-per-minute pump; heat shields to protect responders as they work near a well fire; pneumatic cutting devices that clamp onto damaged pipe to allow responders to cut it at a safe distance; and a “hot tap,” which will drill a hole into damaged pipe to either relieve the pressure or allow responders to pump material into the well to kill it.

The state will use CUDD’s services as needed through emergency contracts on a case-by-case basis, so there is no cost to taxpayers unless CUDD personnel are mobilized. If that happens, the state will seek to recoup the costs from the well operator.

Hanger said he expects to have a contract with a well-control specialty company through a competitive bid process by Oct. 15.

He said natural gas well emergencies pose a considerable cost to local emergency crews, but enacting a severance tax would offset the additional expenses.

“When accidents happen, the natural gas industry should be bearing those costs, not the public or our fire, EMT and police departments. That’s one of the main reasons we need a severance tax; so taxpayers aren’t shouldering this financial burden and emergency response crews have the funds they need to respond appropriately, as well as get proper training and equipment,” he said.

While finalizing the 2010-11 state budget, lawmakers agreed to vote on a severance tax by Oct. 1 with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2011.

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Drilling at Buda site wrapping up

By Elizabeth Skrapits (Staff Writer)
Published: August 19, 2010

Drilling is close to wrapping up at Luzerne County’s first natural gas well, paving the way for Encana Oil & Gas USA Inc. to start on the second.

In a recent release, Encana reported drilling operations at the Buda natural gas well site on Route 118 behind the Ricketts Glen Hotel in Fairmount Township are expected to be finished within the next two weeks. Construction of the drilling pad at the Salansky site on Zosh Road in Lake Township is also “nearing completion and preparation for active drilling operations will start soon,” the company stated.

However, Encana stated that the completion process, which includes hydraulic fracturing, has not yet been scheduled for either site.

The wells will take approximately 6 millions of gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which regulates large water withdrawals, has granted Encana permits to take water from three sources shared with other natural gas drilling companies and three municipal sources.

The municipal sources are Dushore Water Authority in Sullivan County, Towanda Municipal Authority in Bradford County and Tunkhannock Borough Municipal Authority, Wyoming County.

Encana has SRBC permission to take up to 499,000 gallons per day from a Citrus Energy source at the North Branch Susquehanna River in Washington Township, Wyoming County; up to 999,000 gallons per day from the Mountain Energy Services Inc. source at Tunkhannock Creek in Tunkhannock Township; and up to 240,000 gallons per day from the Bowmans Creek withdrawal site of Randy Wiernusz in Eaton Township.

Withdrawals from the Citrus Energy site are currently on hold due to low stream levels, triggering what the commission calls “pass-by restrictions,” according to Susquehanna River Basin Commission Spokeswoman Susan Obleski.

Citrus Energy and Mountain Energy were also under the restrictions, but Obleski said those have been lifted.

“The other two are available, but I understand the stream flows are dropping quickly there again, so it could be only a matter of time that they’re put on hold again,” she said.

Encana also announced that in the event of a natural gas well emergency, the company is partnering with Cudd Well Control as a first responder.

Cudd, which is based in Houston, Texas, has opened a branch on Route 414 in Canton, Bradford County – the first well-control specialists to start operating in Pennsylvania. Previously, specialists from Texas had to be flown in to handle natural gas well emergencies.

“We’ve worked with Encana for a long time in Texas and look forward to partnering here in Pennsylvania,” Troy White, Cudd’s director of business development, said in a prepared statement. “Our specialized team is already familiar with Encana’s safety practices, so we expect a smooth transition to first response planning with Encana in the Marcellus.”, 570-821-2072

View article here.

Copyright:  Citizens Voice