What caused a mix of water and methane gas to shoot thirty feet into the air in Tioga County?
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is focusing its attention on three clusters of natural gas wells operated by Shell. The Cochran, Guindon and Yaggi wells, fourteen in all, are located in Union Township, in the southeastern corner of the County. Shell and Tioga County officials urged people who live within a mile of these sites to evacuate their homes last week, as they worked to stop gas from leaking to the surface.
Tioga County now hosts more than 1,000 Marcellus Shale wells. More than half of them – 559 – are owned by Shell. You can look at every drilled well in Tioga County on StateImpact Pennsylvania’s interactive Shale Play app.
Shell operates all but eight of the 49 wells in Union Township. The Department of Environmental Protection has cited Shell for 12 violations there between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, though not at the three well pads being investigated right now.
All of this information is available on the app, which has recently been overhauled to include every drilled well in Pennsylvania. Up until recently, the app only included producing wells, which have already been drilled and hydraulically fractured, and are now producing gas.
DEP isn’t saying much about where things stand with the stray gas – only that the agency and Shell “are continuing an investigation of a methane gas migration issue first discovered June 16.” The statement says there’s been a “considerable reduction in gas expressions at all locations” – that means less gas bubbling or spraying at the surface – and credits Shell’s flaring of gas with bringing down gas pressure.