Drilling Operation in Indiana County, PA Vandalized

How sad and tragic when someone opposed to drilling comes unhinged and turns to violence, as just happened in Indiana County, PA:

A day after a controversial Indiana County Marcellus Shale gas well got the go-ahead from the state to restart drilling, someone fired six shotgun blasts into the lining of a drill cuttings pit, and stabbed more holes into the liner with a stake, the well owners said Wednesday.

The owners of the well, MDS Energy of Kittanning, believe the vandalism is the result of the seven months of public debate over whether they should be able to drill the well, which sits within the county’s "conservation zone" around Yellow Creek State Park.

The conservation zone requires drillers to obtain a special use permit from the county, which was granted Sept. 9. Tuesday, inspectors from the state Department of Environmental Protection inspected the site and gave the go-ahead to begin drilling, which is expected to start next week.

The $3,500 in damage, the cost of a new liner, was caused sometime after 4 p.m. Tuesday, when crews and inspectors left the site, and 2 p.m. Wednesday, when the crew returned, according to state police.

MDS is now posting a security guard at the site from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. every day.*

Hopefully the lawless vandal will be found and prosecuted.

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Sep 23, 2011) – Shale gas well vandalized in Indiana County

  • It was a little unnerving to learn that Marcellus drilling sites aren’t better secured, There’s industrial activity going on 24/7, and lots of stuff attractive to the same breed of thieves who loot vacant homes for pipe and wire. Working mine sites have always employed security personnel, so this is something the new industry should be doing as well. 

  • Anonymous

    Clearly someone had it in for MDS Energy or this well site, but perhaps you should wait until they catch the fool who did this before attaching a motive to the crime. 

  • Anonymous

    Very sad that this event took place.  Evidently, there is not a 24 hour per day security presence at this location.  Every location that I work on does have 24 hour security present at the location entrance, and every visitor is signed in and out – name, company represented, PPE verified for each individual, etc.  While it’s hard to discern exactly what was vandalized from the article, it sounds like the reserve pit liner was cut, which is petty vandalism – not an act that would shut down the whole operation.  I sincerely hope that this is just an isolated event executed by kids, thugs, or whatever… 

  • No Julieann, what’s unnerving is that people stirring up hate and are in such a frenzied state opposing drilling have perpetrated a CRIME. That’s what’s unnerving. This isn’t a simple case of vandalism by garden-variety hoodlums. It’s an act of eco-terrorism. Please don’t try to dismiss it as some harmless prank by local kids.

  • Methinks it doesn’t take a genius to put 2+2 together. Do you?

  • Pingback: MDN Weekly Update – Sept 25, 2011: Vandalism at Drilling Sites | Marcellus Drilling News()

  • Anonymous

    So now I suppose this will elicit an argument by drilling opponents that liners should now be bullet-proof?

    All kidding aside (I hope), what I don’t understand about this shooting of the liners is that drilling opponents are worried the liners will leak and contaminate the ground, etc.  Yet whoever did this, shot a perfectly good lining, evidently meeting regulatory requirements in the way it was installed and was meant for doing its job.  The person who shot it put the environment at risk, not the company.

    I am reminded of the civil disobedience training an MDN article reported on not too long ago…  Could this be construed as civil disobedience because no person got hurt?

  • Anonymous

    It does if the answer is 5.  Article is not specific, but seems that pit was not used yet.  So someone could be trying to delay spudding.  But if that was the motivation, they could have done a lot more damage with that knife by making slices the length and breath of pit so that the liner had to be replaced instead of just patched or that gun by shooting-up the equipment.  Another possibility is a disgruntled employee or ex-employee — or maybe some looking for a security job.  What is more, in such a case you can’t be sure of anything because it could have been an irrational act.  For example someone could have been drunk or high.  Perhaps it was a neighbor angry about the noise or view.  Such a hasty judgement says more about the judge than the criminal.

  • Anonymous

    We need to use a company from Canada called Gasfrac. They do not use chemicals in the fracking process. This will put most of the Anti’s BS about water pollution to rest. Even though  conventional drilling correctly sleeved and concreted has no chance of contaminating water 6000 feet “below” most water wells. This will also take away vandal’s (Anti’s) targets. We can also create more jobs like increasing Police forces to patrol these areas since more tax dollars will be coming in.