CNX Resources Corp. has started efforts to kill a deep, dry Utica Shale well in southwest Pennsylvania that it lost control of late last month.
Spokesman Brian Aiello said Monday a well control team began the procedure to stop the subsurface flow of natural gas, which was expected to take about three hours. Senior Vice President Andrea Passman, engineering and operations, said last week during the year-end earnings call that all operations were halted recently at the Shaw pad in Westmoreland County after the company experienced a “pressure anomaly” while stimulating the Shaw 1G Utica well.
Pressure in nearby conventional wells increased, suggesting communication between them and the Shaw 1G. Aiello said CNX is flaring gas from nine nearby vertical wells to relieve the pressure. Meanwhile, according to news reports, the area has been flooded with truck traffic and workers responding to the incident. No injuries or environmental issues have been reported, according to both CNX and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“Company personnel and specialized consultants are monitoring existing nearby gas wells and are continuing to manage any potential gas communication to those wells,” CNX said Friday.
DEP spokesperson Lauren Fraley said CNX continues to search for and monitor wells in a two-mile radius from the farthest flared well. She added that the agency has been in regular contact with the company throughout the incident and plans to request a root-cause analysis once the well has been brought under control.
DEP said after CNX stopped pumping operations, the company discovered an obstruction in the wellbore, but it remains unclear what caused the problems.
The Shaw 1G, which reaches a depth of more than 13,000 feet and has a lateral of roughly 8,000 feet, was drilled along with three other Utica wells on the pad last year. The other wells are currently shut-in, Fraley said. There are dozens of unconventional wells in the area. CNX drilled one of the first deep, dry Utica wells in 2014 in Westmoreland County, the Gaut 4IH.
It’s not the first time CNX has hit snags as it continues to fold more Utica properties into its core. The company faced significant turn-in-line delays in 2Q2017 after it had problems during pre-fracturing (fracking) well preparations and issues with drilling out a frack plug at a Utica pad in Monroe County, OH.
Scrutiny has heightened over the latest incident as the Shaw 1G in Washington Township is near the Beaver Run Reservoir, which provides drinking water to more than 100,000 people. The local water authority said supplies had not been impacted by problems at the CNX well.