The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finalized agreements with XTO Energy, Chesapeake Energy and a Shell affiliate on Tuesday for methane gas migration violations that impacted private drinking water wells.
According to the DEP, the violations affected private drinking water wells in Bradford, Lycoming, and Tioga counties.
Chesapeake Appalachia was fined $193,135 for a gas migration in Leroy Township, Bradford County that was reported on May 19, 2012.
The migration impacted four private water wells and was caused by casing issues at Chesapeake’s Morse gas well.
The DEP added that the incident caused surface expression of methane in 14 locations within the Towanda Creek watershed.
XTO Energy received a $95,753 penalty for the gas migration in Franklin and Moreland townships caused by cementing and casing issues at the company’s Little Muncy Creek and German Run.
The issues impacted seven private water wells and caused surface expressions of methane in Little Muncy Creek and German Run.
Royal Dutch Shell affiliate SWEPI LP was fined $85,593 a migration in Union Township, Tioga County.
The gas migration, initially reported in June 2012, impacted two hunting club water wells and caused “pressurized surface expression discharging water 40 feet into the air through a shallow conduit,” the DEP said.
The issue was caused by communication between an old abandoned gas well and one or more of SWEPI’s gas wells on its Cochran, Guindon, and/or Yaggie well pads.
“At the time this event occurred, Shell Appalachia acted immediately by ceasing operations in the area and used extensive internal and external resources, as well as our technical expertise to investigate and respond to the situation,” a Shell spokesperson told TribLive.
All of the impacted water wells were permanently replaced, had treatment systems installed by the responsible company or have returned to background conditions.
In addition, remedial work on all of the defective wells was properly completed as required by the department’s regulations.
The penalties have been paid, the DEP added.
“These were complex and lengthy investigations that took a considerable amount of time to resolve, but the department was able to conclusively determine that methane gas from natural gas wells had migrated off-site and impacted private wells serving homes and hunting clubs,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said.