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Ohio Utica Shale

Drilling group releases new guidance on drilling completions

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2013

From the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, a or-drilling group, last week:

Pittsburgh, Pa. – With eight recommended practices published to-date, today the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released its latest guidance document for Drilling and Completions – two of the most critical aspects of the shale development process. Developed in consultation with several of the MSC’s working committees, these Recommended Practices for Drilling and Completions are designed to provide guidance to operators.

“While a host of critically important steps are required to bring a shale well into production, the drilling phase and hydraulic fracturing and completions process are certainly two of the most crucial,” said MSC chief executive officer Kathryn Klaber. “This guidance document, along with the Commonwealth’s world-class regulatory framework, will help further ensure that these important operations are carried out safely, responsibly and efficiently, and in a way that makes certain we continue to get this historic opportunity right, both now and for generations to come.”

This recommended practice includes guidance in the following areas:

  • Planning. From obtaining the proper regulatory approvals, to recommendations on traffic, lighting, noise, water management and recycling, erosion and sediment controls and secondary containment, this section of the RP provides operators with a check-list of items to be considered prior to moving the rig and completions equipment into place.
  • Health and Safety. All operating personnel should receive training regarding the need for, use of, and expectations regarding appropriate Personal Protective Equipment prior to beginning work on an active location.
  • Well Control. It is recommended that two mechanical barriers in the flow path be maintained, when feasible, during all drilling and completions operations. The mechanical barrier equipment includes specialized valves known as Blowout Preventers (BOPs). Each operator should develop specifications, testing, inspection and maintenance requirements for all BOPs and associated equipment. Operators should implement a comprehensive well control training and competency assurance program for well engineers, rig foremen and service contractors.
  • High Pressure Equipment. Operators should implement methods and procedures to routinely test the integrity of all high pressure surface equipment, including the wellhead, flow lines, manifolds, piping and pump equipment. Detailed considerations are included in the full recommended practice.
  • Drilling Operations. Prior to commencement of the drilling operations, operators should seek to identify the existence of active coal mines and coal seams; depth of groundwater aquifers; and other oil and gas wells within 1000 feet of the surface location and 500 feet of the horizontal portion of the wellbore.
  • Hydraulic Fracturing and Flow Back Operations. Operators should disclose the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluid additives to the extent permitted by suppliers, while respecting related intellectual property rights, and proprietary and confidential business information. To the extent practicable, operators should also monitor adjacent oil and gas wells during hydraulic fracturing. During flow back operations, operators should minimize the release of produced gases and contain produced liquids through capture (production into tanks or pipelines) or temporary flaring. Venting is discouraged.

To view the MSC’s Recommended Practices, click HERE.

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