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Yet Another Oil Disaster..Almost: Pennsylvania

Von: EconomicDemocracy Coop (econdemocracy@gmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 05.06.2010 04:48
Message-ID: <f30de042-383b-4aeb-9e77-b3bd310d986b@f13g2000vbm.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: talk.environment alt.politics alt.activismtalk.politics.misc misc.headlines
EOG Well in Pennsylvania Had ‘Blowout,’ State Says (Update2)



June 4 (Bloomberg) -- A Pennsylvania natural-gas well operated by EOG
Resources Inc. had a “blowout” last night, sending flames and drilling
fluids 75 feet (23 meters) into the air, the state’s Department of
Environmental Protection said.

EOG said in a separate statement the well had a “control issue” at
about 8 p.m. New York time yesterday and was secured by 12:15 p.m.
today. No injuries were reported, the company said. [More than 16
hours before they were finally able to cap it -ED]

...“The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident
that endangered life and property,” John Hanger, the state
environmental department’s secretary, said today in a statement. “This
was not a minor accident, but a serious incident that will be fully
investigated by this agency with the appropriate and necessary actions
taken quickly.”

..A “blowout,” the industry’s term for a surge of pressurized oil or
gas that causes an eruption at a well, is what caused an explosion and
fire at BP Plc’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico April 20,
resulting in the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

Environmentalists were quick to compare the two blowouts and call for
tighter regulation of the growing use of hydraulic fracturing to
extract gas from shale formations. Drillers using the process inject a
mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to crack open
shale and unlock gas deposits.

“We see a lot of parallels,” said Amy Mall, senior policy analyst with
the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York- based advocacy
group. “This is a very complex process with a lot of risks and
involves a lot of complicated technology. The strongest standards need
to be in place.”

There is a need for federal regulation of drilling in shale formations
so there is a “minimum standard”, Mall said. Pennsylvania is in the
processing of revising its rules on fracturing, “but not every state
is,” Mall said.

COMMENTS:

The environmentalist quoted here is quite right but the similarities
run deeper than may meet the eye. Those who have been following "peak
oil" and "peak natural gas" know that "conventional" sources of
both
have been running down. We are not running out of oili but running out
of the cheaper, easier, and (toxic and dangerous but) less-dangerous
places for oil and gas:

...hence "ultra-deepwater" oil drilling like in the Deep Horizon
Disaster, and similarly, it is "non-conventional" gas that is being
drilled for here, the Pennsylvania blowout was at "Marcellus Shale gas
formation" unconventional source for NG..with more extreme measures
(touted as "new advanced improved technology", partly true, but
equally true to say, "less tested, less understood technologies, in
more extreme settings, with more pollution and more danger, because
we're desperate enough to go there since the conventional sources for
Natural Gas in North America are running down. See: www.energybulletin.net/
primer.php
for background and updates, see peakoil.com for regular updates)

Above story (not our comments) excerpted from
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=arTx_7QaYMSE&pos=
9


**  **  **

More background:

Another onshore blow-out; one million gallons of hydraulic fracturing
fluid spewed into the air


NRDC (http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/amall/another_onshore_blow-
out_one_m.html) brings this report and commentary:

Recently I blogged about onshore oil and gas wells that were
improperly constructed and caused drinking water contamination and air
pollution. I mentioned an article that said that "many of today's
wells are at risk."

Today a natural gas well blew out in a Pennsylvania state forest
during a hydraulic fracturing operation. . Officials have estimated
that one million gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid, including
chemical additives, plus an undetermined amount of wet natural gas,
has blown out of the well. Wet natural gas can contain highly
flammable hydrocarbons, like propane and butane, and hazardous
substances, such as hydrogen sulfide. These are separated out before
natural gas makes its way to your stove or furnace.

Campers and others in the forest were evacuated. While no one wants
this kind of toxic explosion in a state forest, imagine if it were
near a school or hospital? In this case, the Federal Aviation
Administration even had to issue flight restrictions. These hazardous
substances will be carried by the air and will settle on land and
vegetation.

It will be very important to know what chemicals were being used in
this hydraulic fracturing operation. Will the company doing the
hydraulic fracturing disclose this information to the public?

[End of NRDC blog report]

As reported by the Associated Press, these fluids are not a joke:

Headline: "Gas, fluids spew for hours from blown-out Pa. well"

..."Incidents like this blowout are a reminder that there are dangers
and that precautions must be taken to protect the health and well-
being of Pennsylvanians," U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said in a statement.

Casey has sponsored a bill to require the industry to comply with the
Safe Drinking Water Act and force it to disclose the chemicals it uses
in its hydraulic fracturing processes — in which millions of gallons
of water, sand and chemicals are blasted underground to shatter
tightly compacted shale and release trapped natural gas.

David Rensink, the incoming president of the American Association of
Petroleum Geologists, said gas well blowouts are very rare and can be
very dangerous to control, since a spark can set off an explosion.

Typically, a blowout preventer — a series of valves that sit atop a
well — allows workers to control the pressure inside, he said.

Just such a device figured into the massive oil spill off the coast of
Louisiana. The oil rig's blowout preventer was supposed to shut off
the flow of oil in the event of a catastrophic failure but failed to
do so.

Excerpted from:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gutnDJYM36f3J62DCRWDA9-gB
7ugD9G4O4I80

In summary: Currently the Safe Drinking Water Act doesn't apply to
these non-conventional gas wells and companies are NOT required to
disclose the chemicals it uses in its hydraulic fracturing processes.
What chemical and toxic materials are used in this news non-
conventional drilling, that many have reported has entered their
drinking water (you can find youtube videos with people, this is not a
joke, actually lighting a match to the drinking water that comes out
of their kitchen faucet, for people living near enough to such
drilling, because enough natural gas or other materials have entered
their water)  Search for Watchdog: New York State Regulation of
Natural Gas Wells Has Been "Woefully Insufficient for Decades."

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