PA DEP Investigates Methane Migration from Shell Drilling

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating a possible case of methane migration due to drilling by Shell in Union Township, Tioga County (PA). A drinking water well in the area was reported to be bubbling with methane.

A Shell spokeswoman says the company’s tests show “a very low hazard risk to people, vegetation, and fish in the immediate area,” but Shell has nevertheless asked the handful of people who live within a one-mile radius of the drilling site to temporarily evacuate their homes.

Shell has also sent a well control specialist team to the site.

DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni confirmed the probe in an email to StateImpact Pennsylvania. “DEP was notified of the problem by Shell on June 17,” he writes. “Shell is fully cooperating with the response and investigation.”

According to Spadoni, a drinking water well located 4,000 feet from a Shell drilling site began overflowing this weekend.  “Shell has several well pads in the area in various stages of completion.  They stopped all operations in the area when notified of a problem,” he wrote, noting “bubbling was also noted at multiple loca­tions in a nearby stream.”*

*StateImpact Pennsylvania (Jun 21, 2012) – DEP Investigating Potential Shell Methane Migration