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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CNX Fracking Accident Leads to Flaring, Water Concerns

From TribLIVE:
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has asked for an extra water sample from Beaver Run Reservoir after a gas well located near the water source recently lost pressure. 
CNX Resources suspended fracking operations from its Shaw 1G well, a deep Utica well on the northwestern side of Beaver Run Reservoir, because of a “pressure anomaly” observed last week, the Canonsburg-based energy company said over the weekend. 
The Municipal Authority serves more than 400,000 people in five counties. Beaver Run Reservoir provides water to about 130,000 people in northern Westmoreland County through the authority’s George R. Sweeney Treatment Plant. It also serves small portions of Armstrong and Indiana counties. 
CONSOL Energy began establishing gas wells on seven pad sites near the reservoir in 2011.
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CNX is investigating the cause of the problem, but the company already has announced the likely root cause.  From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
CNX Resources Corp. said a problem with the casing in its compromised Utica Shale well in Westmoreland County was the likely root of high pressure gas that flooded nearby shallower wells two weeks ago. 
The Cecil-based company told investors that the problem at its Shaw 1G well in Westmoreland County occurred about a mile underground.

It’s still early in the investigation, the company cautioned in its annual report filed on Thursday, “but based on the information we have at this time, we believe the issue is isolated to this well and was caused by a casing integrity issue that occurred at a depth below approximately 5,200 feet, allowing gas traveling up the wellbore to escape at that point.” 
At that depth, according to the well record filed with the state, there were two pipes in the ground, one a 9.6-inch diameter steel casing and inside of it a 5.5-inch diameter production casing. 
The narrower pipe, which is the conduit for the gas to travel up the wellbore, was cemented to the wider one at that depth. But the cement stopped a few hundred feet above that. Operators are not required to cement the production pipe all the way to the surface. 
When the gas escaped from the wellbore at that depth, it made its way to nine vertical wells, drilled to a depth between 3,700 feet and 3,900 feet, according to the DEP.
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