Garrett County and Natural Gas - Risks and Benefits

A selection of categorized links to allow one to assess the risks and benefits of gas development in Garrett Conty.

Garrett County Montage

Abandoned Wells

Hundreds of thousands of wells have been drilled over many, many years. The lifespan of each well is finite. The resource gets depleted. When no longer producing the wells are abandoned. Deep wells can often "regurgitate" polluted water to groundwater aquifers and even "boil" over to the surface. The location of most are unknown, and a hunt is on for them.

- 1536 - [March 21, 2015] - npr, Scott Detrow - "Across Pa., Abandoned Wells Litter The Land"
"In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in northeast Pennsylvania, the Morris Run Coal Co. had just finished drilling a 5,385-foot-deep gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.
Eighty years and four months later, the Butters well was tied to another incident — even though it had been inactive for generations. It played a key role in a methane gas leak that led to a 30-foot geyser of gas and water spraying out of the ground for more than a week."
- 1537 - [November 12, 2002] - Pennsylvania | Energy.Environment.Economy., Scott Detrow - "Perilous Pathways: How Drilling Near An Abandoned Well Produced a Methane Geyser"
"In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in Union Township, Tioga County, the Morris Run Coal company had just finished drilling a gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.
The Butters well was 5,385 feet deep, and lined with four layers of metal casing. Morris Run Coal had a bit of trouble drilling it, though. Two different times, according to the company’s drilling log, workers hit pockets of gas that “blew tools up [the well’s] hole.”
Eighty years and four months later, the Butters well was tied to another incident — even though it had been inactive for generations. It played a key role in a methane gas leak that led to a 30-foot geyser of gas and water spraying out of the ground for more than a week."
- 1538 - [October 9, 2012] - Scott Detrow, Pennsylvania | Energy.Environment.Economy. - "Perilous Pathways: Behind The Staggering Number Of Abandoned Wells In Pennsylvania"
"The world’s first commercial oil well wasn’t in Texas, Alaska or the Middle East. It was in Titusville, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles south of Erie, where Edwin Drake drilled a hole in the ground and had the good idea to line it with pipe to keep the earth from caving back in. That was in 1859. Drake’s success triggered Pennsylvania’s — and the nation’s — first real energy boom.
It was a haphazard affair. Boom towns sprung up around wells and were quickly abandoned; oil prospectors carted wagons of drilling explosives over bumpy roads; oil men would rush barrels of black gold down rivers by damming up water and then releasing it all at once, in order to create an artificial tidal wave. There were no environmental regulations in the 19th century. Many drillers simply walked away from their wells once the oil and gas stopped flowing."
- 1541 - [February 2, 2015] - Pro Publica, Nicholas Kusnetz - "Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country"
"In the last 150 years, prospectors and energy companies have drilled as many as 12 million holes across the United States in search of oil and gas. Many of those holes were plugged after they dried up. But hundreds of thousands were simply abandoned and forgotten, often leaving no records of their existence.
Government reports have warned for decades that abandoned wells can provide pathways for oil, gas or brine-laden water to contaminate groundwater supplies or to travel up to the surface. Abandoned wells have polluted the drinking water source for Fort Knox, Ky., and leaked oil into water wells in Ohio and Michigan. Similar problems have occurred in Texas, New York, Colorado and other states where drilling has occurred."
- 1544 - [November 14, 2008] - USGS, Mike Unthank - "Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells near Fort Knox, Kentucky"
"Abandoned and unrecorded wells may act as conduits for the contamination of ground-water supplies by oil and gas field brines and other pollutants. The casings of abandoned wells eventually develop leaks, which, if not properly plugged, can allow pollutants to reach freshwater aquifers that supply drinking water. "
- 1545 - [January 14, 2013] - Pennsylvania | Energy.Environment.Economy., Scott Detrow - "Perilous Pathways: Hunting For Hidden Wells"
"If you want to find evidence of Pennsylvania’s long history of oil and gas drilling, a good place to start is in Laurie Barr’s back yard. Behind Barr’s house, a few rusty pipes stick out of the ground, abandoned entry points to wells drilled long ago.
Until recently, Barr had no inkling that abandoned wells could be dangerous. She decorated one of the pipes in her backyard with a bird feeder. Then Barr heard about a how a house in Bradford, McKean County, blew up. State regulators centered their investigation of the 2011 incident on gas from an abandoned well, drilled in 1881, located about 300 feet from the home."
- 1606 - [2003] - The New York Times, Roberto Suro - "Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Become Pollution Portals"
"From the Louisiana bayous to the arid plains of Texas and Oklahoma, thousands of oil and gas wells, abandoned at the end of their productive life, have become conduits for noxious liquids that bubble up from deep below the earth's surface to kill crops and taint drinking water.
For state governments in America's oil patch, these abandoned wells have become an expensive legacy left by a fading industry. "
- 1611 - [October, 2012] - Society of Petroleum Engineers, Maurice B. Dusseault, Malcolm N. Gray and Pawel A. Nawrocki - "Why Oilwells Leak: Cement Behavior and Long-Term Consequences"
"Oil and gas wells can develop gas leaks along the casing years after production has ceased and the well has been plugged and abandoned (P&A). Explanatory mechanisms include channelling, poor cake removal, shrinkage, and high cement permeability. The reason is probably cement shrinkage that leads to circumferential fractures that are propagated upward by the slow accumulation of gas under pressure behind the casing. Assuming this hypothesis is robust, it must lead to better practice and better cement formulations."
- 1612 - [2000] - Shale Resource Centre.Canada, NA - "Four Facts on Dusseault's Well Integrity Report"
"Maurice Dusseault, along with other academic researchers, recently released a report on well integrity, which suggests that large percentages of natural gas wells are leaking methane into water supplies and into the air. Unsurprisingly, the report led to headlines like this: “Leaking natural gas wells spew methane, report warns.”
This is a very serious conclusion. However when you dig a little deeper into the report you can see that the reality is nowhere near what the headlines, or even the report itself, would make you believe. Here are four key facts to know about Dusseault’s latest study..."
- 1613 - [NA] - Society of Petroleum Engineers, Poduction & Operations, George E. King and Daniel E. King - "Environmental Risk Arising From Well-Construction Failure—Differences Between Barrier and Well Failure, and Estimates of Failure Frequency Across Common Well Types, Locations, and Well Age"
"Do oil and gas wells leak to the environment? This paper will show the great majority of wells do not pollute. The purpose of this paper is to explain basic concepts of well construction and illustrate differences between single-barrier failure in multiple- barrier well design and outright well-integrity failure that could lead to pollution by use of published investigations and reviews from data sets of more than 600,000 wells worldwide."