- Grove City, Pennsylvania

July 6, 2013

Latest drilling records include violations

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

— The latest reports of local gas and oil drilling activities include permits and violations issued in Butler and Lawrence counties, but none in Mercer and Venango.

The data listed below focuses on the Allied News coverage area and a few nearby municipalities, and the information came from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website, which the public can search.

Allied News contacted DEP spokesperson Gary Clark for further details about several violations.

Between May 30 and July 1, the DEP issued:

■ In Butler County: 28 permits to drill and operate gas wells, with one in Allied News' immediate coverage area at an existing drill site - the Williams property in Slippery Rock Township run by Shell Oil.

■ In Lawrence County: One permit to drill and operate a gas well at an existing drill site - the Whiting property in Pulaski Township run by Hilcorp Energy.

During that same time period, DEP issued these violations:

■ In Butler County: Three violations, with one in Allied News' immediate coverage area - the West property in Slippery Rock Township, where a June 3 inspection revealed Shell failed to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste in response to an accident or event.

Clark said Shell had been installing monitoring equipment down one of the wells when fluids discharged to the ground. He said the crew reacted quickly regarding cleanup and sampling and they are working with the Environmental Control Board to move toward relief from liability.

Shell was cited for the disposal of the waste to the ground without a permit as a result of the spill and no water sources were impacted; a potential penalty will be discussed internally, Clark said.

He didn't disclose what was in the fluid/residual waste.

DEP is still monitoring a situation on the Warner property in Lancaster Township, where a June 3 inspection revealed well operator Re Gas Dev discharged industrial waste to Commonwealth waters without a permit. The discharge happened in a containment pit on the drill site when a hose being used to transport fluids into the pit tore the pit liner, Clark said.

Re Gas Dev conducted an immediate and extensive cleanup, collected samples and installed monitoring wells. The company is contesting the violation and DEP is waiting on further documentation from Re Gas Dev, and fines are being considered, he said.

An administrative violation in Forward Township shows XTO Energy Inc. failed to plug a well upon abandonment.

■ In Lawrence County: Two administrative violations - one in North Beaver Township for Hilcorp's failure to provide 24 hours' notices prior to cementing casing; and one in Perry Township for Shell's failure to provide 24 hours' notice prior to commencement of drilling.

Published July 3, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.