A federal judge in Kansas on Wednesday issued an injunction ordering that some natural gas wells be shut in as they are alleged to be producing from a storage field owned by Northern Natural Gas Co.

"Northern claims that injected storage gas has migrated out of its Cunningham Storage Field and has been produced by certain wells operated by L.D. Drilling Inc., Val Energy Inc. and Nash Oil & Gas Inc.," said the injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Wesley Brown. "All of these wells are located in the 'Expansion Area' certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for inclusion in the Cunningham Storage Field, and all are located on tracts named as defendants in the current condemnation complaint."

Northern had asked that the wells in question be shut in while its claim of storage gas migration is resolved. The company is required to post security of $2 million. If Northern posts the required security, then by Feb. 21 the producers will be required to stop production from 25 wells targeting the Viola and/or Simpson formations.

Last July Northern sued for the condemnation of 9,100 acres in south-central Kansas to enable the expansion of its Cunningham Field (see Daily GPI, July 26, 2010). A month earlier FERC had issued Northern a certificate of public convenience and necessity that authorized "expansion of Northern's certificated buffer zone to include the Viola and Simpson formations" (see Daily GPI, June 4, 2010).

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