Violations Carry a Hefty Price in the Marcellus Shale

In a recent Citizen Voice article, Scott Perry, the director of Oil and Gas Management at the DEP explains how costly environmental infractions can be for drilling companies.

The situation in Dimock Township, where 14 families’ drinking water was contaminated, was caused by drilling, not fracking, Perry said. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. hit a shallow methane gas formation about 1,500 feet down, and the operator didn’t do a good job cementing the well casing, he said.

DEP is holding up Cabot’s new permits until three problematic wells are plugged, the drinking water supply is fixed and the methane migration stops, Perry said. The wells could generate $20 million over their lifespan, and they are in their most productive time, he said.

“It’s costing them a heck of a lot more than just the fines we issued,” Perry said. “I think their stock went down $150 million in one day, and they’re obviously going to lose production value on three of the wells.”

Contrary to popular opinion Pennsylvania’s drilling regulations are some of the strictest in the country – in fact it costs about $1 million more to drill a well in PA compared to other states, in part because of the numerous regulations and fees.

Here’s more information on drilling regulations and the Marcellus Shale play, including discussions over new drilling standards:

And here’s an interesting story about a Texans warning Pennsylvanians- make sure you read both articles.