Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Service Rig Delay Stalls Morgantown Wells

Operations at two Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale near Morgantown, WV, have been delayed while the company awaits the arrival of a service rig.

Brett Loflin, a spokesman for the Charleston, WV-based company, told NGI's Shale Daily operations have already been delayed for one week and NNE expects another week of delay. He said one of the two wells has been completed and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was occurring at the second. Both wells would be cleaned up when the service rig arrives.

"We're basically just waiting on the service rig, and that's going to take a little bit of time," Loflin said Monday. "We have decided that the best way for us to go there and set our frack plugs and get our fracking complete is to bring in a service rig. Folks are going to see a service rig sitting up there, which is going to look almost like a drilling rig."

Loflin said there have been no new developments in the fight between NNE and the city of Morgantown. A judge struck down a city ordinance banning fracking in August (see Shale Daily, Aug. 16). Morgantown enacted its ordinance on June 21 and NNE in turn filed a lawsuit two days later to prevent the city from enforcing the ban (see Shale Daily, June 28; June 23). The city has so far not made any moves to appeal the judge's ruling (see Shale Daily, Aug. 23).

Morgantown enacted the ban over fears that operations at NNE's wells in the Morgantown Industrial Park could foul the Monongahela River and the city's municipal water intake. The wells are about 2,000 feet from the river and an additional 1,500 feet from the intake.

According to the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB), fracking began at the NNE wells on Sept. 30. The utility said water quality testing is currently being performed at four sites, including both banks of the Monongahela River near and two sites downstream of the well pad.

MUB General Manager Tim Ball told the Associated Press the fracking has gone well so far and there have been no releases or accidental spills of fracking fluids. Ball could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"So far everything is quiet," Loflin said. "Everything we're doing out there [in Morgantown] is under a microscope, but this certainly didn't seem like a newsworthy event to us. It's basically a nonevent."

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