Range Resources Corp. is preparing to test its first horizontal Utica Shale well in southwest Pennsylvania's Washington County. The company told Donegal Township supervisors, where the well is located, that it plans to begin flaring the well sometime next week in the absence of a gathering pipeline. The well is a significant one as it's the region's first drilled into the Utica. EQT Corp. has plans for a Utica Shale well in nearby Greene County as well (see Shale Daily, July 24). Range, which drilled one of the earliest exploratory Utica Shale wells in northwest Pennsylvania in 2009, said during a 4Q2013 conference call that its latest Utica well would be drilled to a total depth of 11,500 feet (see Shale Daily, July 5; March 26).
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has fined MarkWest Energy Partners LP $320,000 for 19 spills related to pipeline construction that occurred between September 2012 and November 2013. The OEPA began an investigation into the incidents in 2012, in which thousands of gallons of non-toxic drilling slurry, or lubricant -- a mixture of water and clay -- spilled into wetlands and streams. A large chunk of the fine will be sent to Cadiz in Harrison County, OH, where one of the largest spills occurred. MarkWest has become one of the Appalachian Basin's leading processors and the fines against it were partly delayed by a change in leadership at the OEPA.