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Antero Ops Still On Hold at Site of West Virginia Drill Collision

Operations at Antero Resources Corp.'s Primm Pad in Doddridge County, WV, remain at a standstill after the company inadvertently breached a producing well while drilling another there two weeks ago.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said the Stella 1H, which was being drilled, and the producing Callie 1H both remain shut down. The Stella collided with the Callie, causing what regulators believe is an avenue for methane to threaten nearby water wells (see Shale Daily, Sept. 30)

Gillenwater said Antero has since installed specially designed barriers, called isolation packers, that have been inserted into the lower depths of both wells to seal them. There are 12 private water wells in the area. Three of those closest to the pad have been disconnected from homes to ensure no gas gets inside.

Antero is also providing drinking water to the affected homeowners. Shortly after the incident, regulators were dispatched to take samples from the water supplies to see if high levels of methane were present, but on Tuesday Gillenwater said the results have not come back yet.

Four wells were already completed at the pad. The incident led to two notices of violation (NOV) and a cease operations order that halted production at the Callie 2H and a separate producing well at a different pad in the area, which also remains shuttered.

The NOVs required Antero to act on the situation by Oct. 1 and stipulated that the company determine the cause of the collision and conduct necessary repairs to the Callie's production casing, among other things.

Gillenwater said Antero asked for and received a 30-day extension to submit its abatement plan, which will now be due Nov. 30. The WVDEP did not rule out fines or additional enforcement action when the incident occurred, saying at the time that those were being evaluated. On Tuesday, Gillenwater said the agency was still considering monetary penalties and other options.

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