Monday, June 25, 2012

Methane Geyser in PA: Shell Fracking Operation Suspected

EcoWatch reports that the Pennsylvania DEP is investigating a suspected methane migration problem which caused a 30-foot-tall methane-driven geyser to erupt from the side of a local road, and contaminated a water well at a hunting cabin in Union Township.

The suspected source of the methane is a frack site operated by Shell on the Guindon farm in Union Township

NPR reports that Tioga County Emer­gency Ser­vices Coor­di­na­tor Denny Cole­grove suspects that an unmapped, aban­doned gas well more than 70 years old is part of the problem.

The geyser is  now under control, and evacuation is being planned for residents within a 1-mile radius. Shell is flaring gas [video] from several wellsites in the vicinity in an attempt to lower pressure and reduce the methane leaks at the surface. (We're not sure why this would work; it suggests all of these wells are in communication with each other, the gas reservoir, and the surface -- a highly undesirable situation.  Can anyone explain?)

If the cause is determined to be a fracking operation intersecting an unmapped, improperly abandoned well, then this is great concern for the future of fracking in a state that is littered with thousands of abandoned wells.

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