PA Shale Gas Operators Cited for Well Casing Violations

Some time ago, shale gas operators were cited for a total of 337 well casing violations in Pennsylvania out of an estimated 8,473 wells drilled. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s compliance and well count data, there has been one well casing violation for every twenty-five wells drilled in the decade since unconventional shale gas development began.

Well casing violations are cited when the structural integrity of a shale gas well is lost. Improperly casing the borehole may result in contamination entering groundwater resources such as springs and aquifers.

Well casing violations fall under seven categories, some of those categories include: improperly or insufficiently installed cement; failure to report insufficient or improper cement within a twenty-four hour period; and failure to case and cement to prevent migrations into fresh groundwater.

Two companies with the greatest number of casing violations include Chesapeake Energy, with fifty-four violations and Talisman Energy Inc with forty-one violations, each accounting for about six percent of their total well casing violations.

Operators with ten or more wells who had the greatest percentage of well casing violations were Chief Oil and Gas and Exxon Mobil, both having approximately 11.5 percent of wells drilled with well casing violations. Read also this article about the environmental impact of fracking.

The data review was completed by a partnership of environmental groups including Energy Justice Network (ENJ) and SustainUs.  Researchers sourced well count data from the PA DEP Spud Report and the well casing violations were counted using the online PA DEP Compliance Report, both available on the department’s website. Pros and cons of fracking are also discussed in an interesting post. Just click on the link.

It is Energy Justice Network’s mission is to support communities that are under threat of being polluted by energy technologies and waste. ENJ takes direction from a true grassroots base as well as of Environmental Justice Principles. The agency advocates clean energy, a zero-emission policy, and a zero-energy waste future for everyone without the risks posed by fracking practices.

SustainUS’ mission is “to empower young people to advance sustainable development. Through research, proactive education, and advocacy at the grassroots and policy-making level, SustainUS is working towards a future in which all of our people recognize the interdependence and inherent equality of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The agency strives to reflect these values via the diversity of projects and members, its ongoing dedication to educating, and the way its members live their lives.

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