News

Range Provides Lycoming County Well Update (#2)

Jun 16, 2015

"We respect and share the department’s mission to safely produce natural gas while protecting the environment. We believe we’ve complied with DEP's requests and while we have a disagreement about this situation, we are very confident in the mechanical integrity of the well and we are equally confident that the environment and community are not at risk. We will continue to be transparent with the Department with the substantial data we have that proves that the methane of concern exists naturally at the surface and subsurface in this part of the state, long before our activity, and is not in any way related to our operations." 

DEP Press Release

---UPDATE---

June 16, 2015
6:30 PM EST

Range takes its commitment to protecting the environment and the communities where we live and work incredibly serious. It’s a core commitment that is shared by our more than 900 employees and the thousands of men and women who work for us as contractors.

We’re very proud of our record of responsibly developing natural gas, particularly in Pennsylvania where we pioneered the development of the Marcellus Shale, while protecting the environment.

On June 15, 2015 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a fine against Range for a well in Lycoming County. We respect and share the DEP’s mission to safely produce natural gas while protecting the environment. We believe we’ve complied with DEP's requests and while we have a disagreement about this situation, we are very confident in the mechanical integrity of the well and we are equally confident that the environment and community are not at risk. We will continue to be transparent with the Department with the substantial data we have that proves that the methane of concern exists naturally at the surface and subsurface in this part of the state, long before our activity, and is not in any way related to our operations.

For more information on the extensive data collection and analysis conducted to date, which are a matter of public record, please see the following documents. For a brief overview of the extensive data collection and analysis please click here or below for a presentation delivered before the DEP on October 2, 2012.

Click here or below to view or download the Green Valley Road, Water Well Investigation, November 2010 – March 2013, Final Report

Pre-Existing Methane

“Before Range Resources - Appalachia, LLC (“Range”) even began drilling its only gas well in the area, the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well, water wells on properties along Green Valley Road contained significant levels of methane and other gases. Specifically, pre-drill sampling and analyses made available by the Pa.DEP, as well as sampling and analyses conducted by Range, demonstrate the presence of natural gas, methane and other constituents, in area water wells at concentrations approaching the maximum solubility of methane in water. In short, it is unquestionable that methane gas in area water wells pre-dates Range’s drilling activity.” (page 2, emphasis added)

“Furthermore, isotopic and compositional analyses of the pre-drill gas in area water wells show that the water well gas is from a source or sources that are different from the production and casinghead gases in the Range well.” (page 2, emphasis added)

“Essentially, there is no objectively verifiable change in the water quality in the Green Valley Road water wells that are the subject of this investigation and the natural gas in these wells could very well be a natural consequence of where they were drilled. Relevant to this inquiry, an outcrop of the Hamilton Group formation occurs only a mile or so to the West and, as stated above, Range encountered gas at a relatively shallow depth (54 feet).” (page 3, emphasis added)

Mechanical Integrity of the Wellbore

“The testing of the Harman Lewis 1H well, specifically the testing performed in March 2012, proved that there is hydraulic isolation between stratigraphic layers in the subsurface preventing flow between zones behind the 5-1/2" well casing. In short, the March 2012 well, temperature, and noise logs confirmed that there is zonal isolation  behind the 5-1/2" well casing. (page 18, emphasis added)

“John C. McBeath, a petroleum engineer and licensed Professional Engineer in Texas, Wyoming and California with more than 25 years of well log analysis experience, determined the cemented 5-1/2" production casing of the Harman Lewis 1H well is in compliance with industry standards, and the well does not have defective, insufficient or improperly cemented casing.” (page 18, emphasis added)

“…The significance of the 70% plus bond index for six continuous feet is that field studies and Mr. McBeath’s experience have shown that is more than sufficient to achieve hydraulic isolation. In addition, the temperature survey and noise logs do not indicate any fluid movement outside the 5 ½" casing. Again, indicating that the Harman Lewis 1H well has mechanical integrity.” (page 19, emphasis added)

Well Sampling Results

“Range’s investigation included methane, ethane and propane testing and isotopic analysis of those dissolved gases. Range also sampled and tested for 26 other ground water constituents.. Any constituent tested that may have been greater than the minimum requirements for the state’s primary drinking water standards, or Maximum Contaminant Level, was consistent pre and post-Harman Lewis Unit 1H when pre-drill data was available.” (page 23, emphasis added)

“As early in this investigation as March 7, 2012, Dr. Scott A. Stout, Ph.D., P.G., of NewFields Companies, LLC provided Range and Pa.DEP a detailed report unequivocally stating that his analyses of 22 gas samples collected from 21 residential water wells showed “that the hydrocarbon gas in the groundwater from the residential wells is isotopically and compositionally distinct from the gas produced from Range’s Harman Lewis Unit 1H gas production well” and “[t]hus, the available data show that Range’s Harman Lewis Unit 1H gas production well is not the source of dissolved gas in any of the 21 water wells studied.” Unknown to Dr. Stout and Range at that time, his analyses and conclusions would be confirmed a year later by data provided by Pa.DEP documenting isotopic and compositional analyses of water well samples analyzed before the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well was drilled.” (page 23, emphasis added)

“On October 2, 2012, Pa.DEP provided additional isotopic and compositional data that effectively confirmed the distinctions originally described by Dr. Stout in the Green Valley water well gases when compared to the gases in the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well…The figure below, which includes the Pa.DEP data received by Range on October 2, 2012, illustrates and proves the point.” (page 26, emphasis added)

“The Pa.DEP’s pre-drill data from Effen and Schwanbeck properties taken 11 months prior to drilling the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well unquestionably demonstrate the presence of high concentrations of methane were the Green Valley Rd. groundwater as early as March 2010. Also, Dr. Stout’s supplemental analysis of the Effen and Schwanbeck pre-drill compositional data concludes that these gases in these water wells are different from each other – and different from the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well gases. (page 29, emphasis added)

Ultimately, Dr. Stout determines “it is not only unreasonable to consider the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well as the source of methane in groundwater along Green Valley Rd., the isotopic data provided to Range by PaDEP in January 2013 clearly show multiple (i.e., Effen-like and Schwanbeck-like) sources of methane existed in the area’s groundwater prior to drilling of the Harman, Lewis Unit 1H well in Feb. 2011.” (page 29)

Conclusion

“Range’s Harman Lewis Unit 1H well has not and is not causing or contributing to methane in Green Valley Road water wells, including but not limited to the Bodle, Crawley, Tironie, Finkler and Gordner water wells. Pre-drill sampling and analyses conducted by Pa.DEP and Range unquestionably demonstrate the presence of natural gas in area water wells, as it is impossible for the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well to have caused gas to be present in any water well before it was drilled. This absolute coupled with, most notably, the pre-drill isotopic signature of the methane in the Effen water well matching post-drill methane in the subject wells conclusively demonstrates that the gas in the Green Valley Road area water wells is not related to the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well. The same conclusion is supported by the post-drill isotopic and compositional analyses and the well integrity analysis. Thus, again, Range has demonstrated that the Harman Lewis Unit 1H well is not causing or contributing to the occurrence of natural gas in water wells on properties along Green Valley Road.” (page 29, emphasis added)

 

To view or download the reports click on the following links:

Range Final Report 4-8-12
DEP letter 6-15-15
Range Filed Notice of Appeal EHB received 6-5-15
Appendix I John C McBeath P E Report 3-30-12 (Part 1)
Appendix I John C McBeath P E Report 3-30-12 (Part 2)
Appendix I John C McBeath P E Report 3-30-12 (Part 3)
Appendix II NewFields Report 3-7-12
Appendix III NewFields-Supplemental Report 4-8-13
Appendix IV Range presentation to Pa.DEP 10-1-12