Monthly Archives: June 2015

DEP Assesses $8.9 million Civil Penalty Against Range Resources for Failure to Repair Leaking Gas Well

June 16, 2015 1:06 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has notified Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC, of Fort Worth, TX that it intends to assess an $8.9 million civil penalty against the company, and has directed Range Resources to prevent methane and other substances from escaping from a leaking gas well and polluting groundwater and a stream in Lycoming County.

On May 11, 2015, DEP ordered Range Resources to submit a plan to remediate the defectively cemented gas well. However, the company failed to submit a satisfactory plan that made necessary repairs to prevent further leaks and pollution.

“Today, we made it clear that we take seriously our responsibility to protect residents and Pennsylvania’s natural resources,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “Clean water is an important part of a strong economy and Range Resources owes it to the people of Lycoming County and surrounding areas to make the repairs necessary to immediately stop the discharge of natural gas to the waters.”

The $8.9 million civil penalty would be assessed under the Clean Streams Law and the 2012 Oil and Gas Act.

Drilling for the well took place in February and March of 2011, and fracking occurred in June 2011. Subsequent investigation revealed that methane contaminated the groundwater-fed wells of private water supplies, and a nearby stream.

Although Range Resources was issued a Notice of Violation in September 2013 for the leaking gas well, it still has not corrected the defective cement. Since that time, the private wells, a pond, and nearby streams have continued to show signs of gas migration, including increased turbidity, and the presence of iron, aluminum and manganese. Elsewhere in the area near the leaking well, foliage “dead spots” and gas escaping from the soil have been observed by the DEP.

DEP’s May 11, 2015 order cited Range Resources for not correcting the defective well, and ordered the company to submit and implement a plan to prevent the migration of gas or other fluids. Calling the continued gas migration “unlawful conduct and a public nuisance,” DEP gave Range Resources ten days to submit a remediation plan.

Range Resources submitted a plan that proposed putting the well into production as a means to resolve the gas migration. DEP rejected that plan because it did not include making necessary repairs and has now directed the company to remediate the well in a manner that immediately ceases the discharge of methane to ground and surface water.

“Range Resources has the responsibility to eliminate the gas migration that this poorly constructed well is causing,” said Quigley. “Refusing to make the necessary repairs to protect the public and the environment is not an option.”

Range Resources has appealed the May 11 order to Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Lalo, 717-787-1323

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dep-assesses-89-million-civil-penalty-against-range-resources-for-failure-to-repair-leaking-gas-well-300100011.html

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DEP Fines Chevron $939K For Violations Related to Fatal Greene Co. Explosion

The Department of Environmental Protection has entered into a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty  with Chevron Appalachia, LLC for violations related to a fatal explosion and fire at the company’s Lanco Well Site in Dunkard Township, Greene County.

The CACP requires the company to pay a $939,552 fine for violations at the well site. The penalty points to Chevron’s failure to construct and operate the well site to ensure that health, safety and environment were protected, as required by the state’s Oil and Gas Act.

The explosion and fire at the site occurred on February 11, 2014, as workers were preparing the Lanco 7H well for production. The force of the explosion damaged and ignited the Lanco 6H well, which was on the same well pad. One worker was killed and another injured.

The well fires continued to burn for four days. The wells continued to emit gas and production fluids until they were capped several days later.

DEP’s Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation which determined that an ejected nut and pin assembly on Lanco 7H well allowed gas to escape into the air. Chevron has since inspected other wells with similar installations and has made operational changes and issued guidelines on how those changes are carried out.

To view the CACP, click here.

The Bureau of Investigation report can be viewed here.

The Department’s After Action Review can be viewed here.

For more information about DEP, click here, or visit www.dep.state.pa.us