Posts Tagged ‘drilling’

Pennsylvania Drilling Rig/Truck Accident Lawyers: Localities Debate Gas Industry

At separate meetings in Newton Township, Lackawanna County Pennsylvania and Dallas Township, Luzerne County Pennsylvania local government officials met and heard testimony by local residents regarding gas drilling operations in their respective communities.  Residents voiced support for the gas industry along with concerns over water, environmental, safety, home values and other issues.  Local officials listened and are considering local regulations of the gas drilling industry.  The twelve lawyers at Dougherty Leventhal , Price LLP–DLP–PENNSYLVANIA TRUCK LAWYERS and PENNSYLVANIA GAS DRILLING RIG INJURY LAWYERS, continue to follow this and other Marcellus Shale Gas drilling issues in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

Marcellus Shale News: More Gas Deposits? More Methane Gas Leaks?

Pennsylvania gas drilling remains in a constant state of change and updates.  Reports today indicate that the Marcellus Shale gas field in Pennsylvania holds significantly more natural gas deposits than even recent estimates.  Good news.  However, other reports today note another reported methane gas problem in water wells and possibly a pond in Lenox, Susquehanna County.  The gas drilling company is investigating and no conclusions have been reached.  Bad news for an industry trying to avoid environmental problems, especially water pollution.  Pennsylvania truck accident and drilling rig injury lawyers Dougherty Leventhal & Price  LLP, DLP, continue to monitor these and other Marcellus Shale gas drilling issues in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Gas Drilling Rigs: Water Issues Persist

The governor’s study commission on Marcellus Shale gas drilling has raised concerns about private well construction in light of the current drilling rig boom in Pennsylvania.  Well water quality continues to be a major concern of Pennsylvania residents living in gas country.  DLP, Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers, drilling rig accident lawyers, nursing home abuse lawyers and personal injury lawyers in complex and serious matters continue to monitor this issue on behalf of our clients.

Gas Drilling Tax Debate In Pennsylvania Goes On

The debate over the fairness of imposing a gas drilling severance and or property tax in Pennsylvania continues. Tax proponents cite all other gas producing states and the fact that all, including Texas–with gas property and severance tax revenues estimating four (4) billion dollars per year—have imposed taxes..  Gas drilling industry insiders cite the need to freely permit the gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania to take root, expand on the 3000 plus drill sites already in production and expand infrastructure including pipe lines without burdening the gas industry with over taxation.  The issue continues to be debated in Harrisburg and at the local level.  DLP. Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers and Pennsylvania gas drilling rig accident/injury lawyers continue to monitor this and other gas drilling rig industry issues.

Will Lack of Regualtions Harm Gas Drilling Industry in Pennsylvania?

People monitoring the gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania are debating whether the lack of government regulations in Pennsylvania may actually end up harming the gas drilling industry.  Pipeline construction, gas drilling on state game lands, gas drilling near rivers and lakes supporting homes and vacation communities and other areas at risk for devastating pollution events could result in multi billion dollar exposure to the gas drilling industry if not performed properly. Environmental regulation proponents note that  well thought out regulations may actually protect the gas drilling industry from unnecessary liability exposure.  New York State is currently working on just such regulations prior to issuing drilling permits.

Gas Drilling Rig Issues Heat Up

All sorts of issues related to the gas drilling rig industry are heating up in Pennsylvania and New York.  State and Federal officials continue to debate the extent and nature of gas drilling to be allowed in the Delaware River Basis which supplies drinking water to millions of people including New York City.  Meanwhile, Pennsylvania officials with the Fish and Game Commission announced plans to lease land and water supplies to the gas industry for gas drilling and water outtake.  Officials believe they have no choice in light of private leases surrounding state game lands.  The twelve lawyers at DLP continue to monitor all issues involving the gas drilling industry while representing people involved in tractor trailer/truck accidents, gas drilling rig accidents and other major injury claims.

Pennsylvania Gas Drilling Rig Industry: Jobs?

Recent reports estimated 48,000 new job positions related to gas rig drilling in Pennsylvania.  However, a new report claims only approximately 10,000 jobs have been created and the original numbers inflated to include “new hires”.  The twelve lawyers at DLP continue to monitor this issue as they represent individuals in gas drilling rig accidents, Pennsylvania tractor trailer/truck accidents and other serious injury claims throughout Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania including the Northern Tier.

Ridge: Gas wells mean jobs

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

The shale gas industry is like the auto business — it might hurt some people, but the jobs it brings to a struggling economy make it worthwhile, gas industry pitchman and former Gov. Tom Ridge said Thursday.

“You don’t quit building automobiles because some people are going to crash and kill themselves,” said Ridge, who spoke at Carnegie Mellon University. “You have to manage the risk. Capitalism and entrepreneurialism is risk management.”

Ridge, whose Washington-based consulting company makes $75,000 a month from a coalition of gas drillers, led a presentation on Marcellus shale gas drilling to open the university’s 21st annual Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, Technology and Policy. It’s an industry that could improve life in long-struggling rural Pennsylvania towns, he said.

The former Republican governor got a warm reception and applause from a crowd of about 250. But several drilling opponents in the audience criticized him for his relationship with the industry and for not visiting residents near the 400 well sites in Washington County.

“We would like people to be informed of what Mr. Ridge is doing here so they can consider that what he’s going to say is possibly biased,” said Edith Wilson, 67, of Edgewood, one of several people who handed out leaflets about Ridge’s industry ties. “I’ve been treated for cancer, and I sure don’t want anything floating around in the air that could infect anyone else.”

The Marcellus shale is a mile-deep layer of rocks rich with natural gas. It stretches from Tennessee to New York, but the busiest sweet spots for drillers have been found in Washington County and northeastern Pennsylvania. Scientists predict there could be 50,000 or more wells drilled statewide.

The shale drilling explosion began in Texas a decade ago. Tales of spoiled water, chemicals spills and cancer — along with documented air pollution, damaged roads and clear-cut forest land — have followed. But scientists have drawn few conclusions about the full effects of the industry and the root causes of these problems.

“We have one chance to do it right, and I believe that chance is now,” Ridge said, pledging that cheap, domestic gas can help the country stay competitive and put money into poor rural towns where most of the drilling occurs. “Things will happen out there, folks. Remember you have to manage the risk.”

Mike Domach, a chemical engineering professor at CMU, asked Ridge about leases for drilling in state forests. He owns property in Clinton County and said he has seen roads and forests ruined in the state’s wilderness by truck traffic and well development. Ridge told him that drilling companies should restore the land when they leave.

“But this is going to be a protracted process. I guess we can look forward to all these places getting broke every year and then fixed every year,” Domach said later. “I’m not averse to development, but I just think the state is totally unprepared for what’s being unleashed here.”

Risky Gas Drilling Threatens Health, Water Supplies

The rapid expansion of natural gas drilling across the nation endangers human health and the environment.

The oil and gas industry is seeking to expand natural gas production across the nation, as new technology makes it easier to extract gas from previously inaccessible sites. Over the last decade, the industry has drilled thousands of new wells in the Rocky Mountain region and in the South. It is expanding operations in the eastern United States as well, setting its sights most recently on a 600-mile-long rock formation called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia to western New York.

Nearly all natural gas extraction today involves a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which dangerous chemicals are mixed with large quantities of water and sand and injected into wells at extremely high pressure. Fracking is a suspect in polluted drinking water in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, where residents have reported changes in water quality or quantity following fracturing operations.

In the Marcellus Shale region, drilling is already well under way in parts of Pennsylvania, as well as in Ohio and West Virginia. Communities in Pennsylvania, where outdated regulations fail to cover high-tech drilling, have seen some of the worst impacts of natural gas extraction, including exploding water wells, contaminated water supplies, foul air, and reported human and animal illnesses. Even when done in compliance with existing regulations, natural gas production brings with it toxic waste, diesel fumes, traffic and wall-rattling noise, and transforms rural communities into industrial zones. Stronger regulations are needed to ensure adequate protections from the risks of gas drilling, and to control the rate and scale of development.

Irresponsible energy development in the Rocky Mountain West is also taking a toll on public wild lands, which provide vital wildlife habitat and are a source of pure air and clean drinking water. These irreplaceable ecological resources are threatened by air pollution, habitat destruction and water contamination caused by the recent expansion of natural gas drilling. More than 25 million acres of wildlife habitat in the West have been leased by the Bureau of Land Management, and could potentially be opened to drilling. In one area of Wyoming, as drilling activity increased, mule deer numbers declined by 30 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Despite the risks to human health and the environment, New York State is rapidly moving forward to allow fracking in its Marcellus Shale region, which stretches from the southern tier of the state into the Catskills, and includes the west-of-Hudson portion of the New York City watershed. This highly sensitive landscape provides pure, unfiltered drinking water for more than 9 million New Yorkers.

Allowing fracking in this region without first taking a good, hard look at the risks endangers private water supplies, air quality and landscapes across the state. Other states, including Pennsylvania, are scrambling to put more protective regulations in place after drilling has begun, but New York is in a unique position to be proactive and protect the health of local communities and valuable natural resources.

NRDC is fighting to protect communities across the country from the pollution caused by natural gas production. By tightening loopholes in our bedrock environmental laws, banning drilling on sensitive lands and requiring the most stringent regulatory requirements wherever production does take place, we can help protect critical water supplies and other precious resources and keep our communities safe and healthy.

Copyright NRDC

Drilling company taking steps to ensure safety

By Elizabeth Skrapits (Staff Writer)
Published: August 30, 2010

FAIRMOUNT TWP. – From using non-toxic oil for drilling to installing three levels of blowout prevention, Encana Oil & Gas USA Inc. is trying to ensure nothing happens at its first exploratory gas well site that isn’t supposed to.

During a media tour of the Buda well site off Route 118 in Fairmount Township on Friday, Encana spokeswoman Wendy Wiedenbeck and Owen Stone, one of the company’s essential personnel who lives in one of the on-site trailers, showed the steps the company is taking.

“There are protocols in place to prevent incidents from happening. Owen’s job is to prevent those incidents,” Wiedenbeck said.

By state standards, Encana has been successful so far. Personnel from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas bureau perform unscheduled formal regulatory inspections at natural gas well sites to assess conditions before and during drilling.

The Fairmount Township drilling site has had several inspections, and Encana has no violations, DEP spokesman Mark Carmon said.

The department’s oil and gas division will also inspect Encana’s second exploratory natural gas well site on Zosh Road in Lake Township prior to drilling, he said.

When the drilling is complete at the Fairmount Township site, the rig will go to the Lake Township well pad, Wiedenbeck said.

That will take a few more weeks, she said. Encana’s drilling contractor, Oklahoma-based Horizontal Well Drillers, have completed the vertical portion of the Buda well, and will next be drilling horizontally in a southwestern direction, Wiedenbeck said.

Before doing so, Encana took core samples to see what lies beneath the surface. The natural-gas-rich Marcellus Shale is about a mile and a half underground, according to Stone.

Measurement tools similar to a global positioning system that are used while drilling allow Encana to “know where we’re going at all times,” Wiedenbeck said. The company isn’t allowed to go beneath land it hasn’t leased.

“We did a lot of science on this well,” she said.

But only when the well is complete and the results are reviewed will Encana have any idea of the natural gas production in the area, which will influence the company’s plans to move forward with additional wells, Wiedenbeck said.

Precautions and backups

The drilling rig is hydraulic and can be operated automatically – Stone compared it to a video game – meaning nobody has to be on the rig floor, which cuts down on opportunities for workers to be injured.

The well pad is surrounded by an absorbent cloth, then a thick, durable and impermeable plastic liner was laid and matting boards were set around the well equipment so that in the event of a spill, it can’t run off the pad, Stone said. A “spill shack” behind the well contains materials including pads to soak up fluids and a heavy-duty vacuum.

Underneath the tank of diesel used to fuel the equipment is a plastic “duck pond,” which would contain any fuel that might leak out.

“Almost everything has at least two, and in some cases three, types of containment in the event of a spill,” Stone pointed out.

The well has three blowout preventers. The first one, a “backside stack,” packs off the drill pipe all the way down the hole. The second, a “pipe ram,” hydraulically closes on the drill pipe, Stone said. The third, a “blind ram,” is used as a last resort: it closes and cuts off the pipe, he said.

All three backups are tested at least once every 72 hours. And each of the trailers where the essential personnel stays has a Pason monitor, with a screen that allows them to keep an eye on everything from how much drilling mud is in the tanks to how fast the drill is rotating, Stone said.

“Every physical thing that can happen on that rig is monitored on that Pason,” he said.

Drilling fluid, also called “drilling mud,” is used to clean and cool the drill bit and bring the cuttings up to the surface. Some drilling companies use petroleum-based substances such as diesel fuel.

Air and fresh water were used on the vertical well, Wiedenbeck said. For the horizontal drilling, Encana is using ABS 40, which the material safety data sheet at the site lists as a synthetic food-grade oil.

Stone said it is similar to baby oil. The only additives are barite for weight and clay for viscosity, he said, noting that all the additives are naturally occurring, non-toxic and not environmentally harmful.

The cuttings – material pulled up to the surface while the well is being drilled – are dried out and 99 percent of the oil is removed for reuse on the next well or to sell back to the company, Stone said. The cuttings are tested to ensure they meet state standards for disposal before DEP will allow them to be taken to a landfill, Wiedenbeck said.

The well itself has several strings of casings – layers of steel pipe and cement – to protect the shallow aquifers, Wiedenbeck said. They are run to 100 feet below any known water well, she said.

The cement is tested for compression strength, and DEP is “very diligent” about witnessing that the cement goes to the surface, Stone said. Wiedenbeck said the company has to do integrity testing, cement bond logging and pressure testing.

During the drilling, Encana has been taking water samples from nearby Ricketts Glen state park and nearby residents, Wiedenbeck said. There haven’t been any changes, she said.

Keeping it clean

According to Stone and Wiedenbeck, Encana prides itself on keeping its drilling sites in good shape.

Unofficial aerial photographs taken on random days and times show the Buda well site appears orderly and organized even when the company isn’t giving tours or getting inspections.

“We will continue to monitor both sites and ensure it stays that way,” Carmon said.

He said how a company prepares a drilling site and how they operate gives DEP an idea of what to expect. If the site is sloppy, officials “might want to keep an eye on it.”

Factors include whether the subcontractors know what they are doing, and whether the natural gas company is supervising them, Carmon said. For example, some of the issues with Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. were caused by contractors and even delivery people, he said.

“Given the nature of this business, the company and all its contractors and subcontractors have to be vigilant every minute,” Carmon said. “It’s the law, but it’s also their obligation, period.” He added, “Hopefully Encana will continue along that line.”

If people see anything unusual at a natural gas drilling site, they can contact DEP’s oil and gas office in Scranton, Carmon said.

“Everything is dependent on them continuing to do a good job. That’s they key,” he said of Encana., 570-821-2072

View article here.

Copyright:  The Citizens Voice