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Ohio Utica Shale

Coalition issues guidance on methane migration

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2012

From FrackCheckWVA:

Managing stray gas is the subject of a fourth guidance document from the Marcellus Shale Coalition, issued October16th. The essentials of this article were compiled by Pam Kasey as published by the State Journal.

In its three-page “Recommended Practices: Responding to Stray Gas Incidents,” the Pennsylvania-based natural gas industry group lays out simple guidelines for oil and gas operators that can also inform the public about what to expect when an incident occurs.

Stray gas can originate from sources including coal beds, oil and gas wells, landfills, pipelines and microbial sources. It can migrate from there into groundwater, surface water, soil and structures, the MSC points out. The industry has frequently identified the presence of stray gas during pre-drill baseline water surveys, according to a media release accompanying the guidance document.

The document aims to provide detailed steps that operators can take when stray gas is encountered: from developing proper plans of action to notification of regulators as well as initial response actions and performing site reconnaissance surveys. When stray gas is detected in a structure, depending on the level, oil and natural gas producers may install ventilation and methane-specific alarms as a precautionary measure.

Where elevated levels of methane are detected in water wells, ventilation may also be considered. When methane is detected in a water source servicing a structure, the operator should consider providing an alternate water source until additional testing determines the source of the stray gas.

The document prioritizes public and employee safety and the prevention of damage to property and the environment and emphasizes the importance in responding to an incident of maintaining lines of communication with state regulators, local officials, first responders and homeowners.

“For the most critical situations,” the document reads, “immediate action should be taken to protect public safety and property. These measures may include evacuation and/or ventilation procedures. Because operators do not have the authority to initiate an evacuation, notification and cooperation with local emergency response organizations is critical.”

The MSC has previously released recommended practices on (1) site planning, development and restoration; (2) supply chain; and (3) pre-drill water supply surveys.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.