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Ohio Utica Shale

Update on Youngstown quakes

By Bob Downing Published: January 3, 2012

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources acted appropriately in shutting down an injection well in Mahoning County that has been linked to earthquakes, said Terry Fleming of the Ohio Petroleum Council.

Fleming issued his statement today.

He said the state agency acted with "appropriate due caution" in shutting down the Northstar Disposal Services LLC well west of downtown Youngstown in Youngstown Township.

Situations like those encountered in Youngstown are "very rare," he said.

The state and the company on Friday agreed to temporarily shut down the well to allow for more investigation.

On Saturday, a 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the injection well where briny waste from drilling gets pumped underground for permanent disposal.

The pressure inside the well may have been high enough to trigger the quake, even though operation was being shut down, state officials said.

State Sen. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, called for a moratorium on injection wells and asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate.

Ohio has a total of 177 injection wells to dispose of drilling wastes from Ohio drillers and those in other states.

Fleming defended the injection wells and said Ohio needs those wells for disposal as the Utica shale boom begins.

Ohio should make its decisions based on sound science, not politics, he said.

It was the 11th quake and the largest in Mahoning County since last March, when the quakes started.

A Dec. 24 quake was a 2.4-magnitude.

All of the quakes occurred within two miles of the injection well.

The state and the company agreed to the closure, even though the state cannot prove that the injection well caused the quakes.

The well goes to a depth of 9,100 feet and began operations in late 2010. The liquid waste is kept under pressure of 2,500 pounds per square inch, according to state records.

The new testing at the Youngstown Township well is expected to get under way this week.

Company officials plan to plug about 1,100 feet of open space at the bottom of the well.

 

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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.