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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Earthquakes Shake the Shale under Ohio’s Cryogenic Facility

Q: What does Ohio’s newest cryo plant, unconventional wells, legacy wells &  pipelines have in common?
A: They were all shaken by earthquakes on March 10, 2014.

Five earthquakes struck the region this past Monday and Tuesday with depths of up to of 5 kilometers or about 3.11 miles.

The epicenters were located outside of Youngstown, near the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, 2 of the earthquakes were only feet from two of Hilcorp Energy Corp unconventional Shale gas well pads. One was only 1200 feet away, another 2300’.

After this weeks quakes, Ohio Department of Natural Resources ( ODNR)  ordered the operator to halt operations at the nearby well sites.

The earthquakes struck a little too close for comfort as far as Maggie Henry is concerned. Maggie lives in the historically drilled Bessemer Oil Field just over the border in North Beaver Twp., Pennsylvania.  Her water well’s pump stopped working in 2012 four months after a series of earthquakes struck the region in 2011. When the repairman came to fix the pump he discovered the well casing was too crimped to pull the water pump up the casing and out of the well to replace it.

“He was 72 years old, and a fourth generation water well driller. He told me he never seen anything like this before” said Maggie.
“How did the well casing get bent, and if it was caused by the earthquakes, what do earthquakes do to shale gas wells, pipelines, and the other ridged infrastructure?”

The 2011 Youngstown (4) earthquakes struck about 14 miles from Monday’s earthquakes.  Subsequently the 2011 earthquakes were been linked to the controversial practice of injecting waste water into historic wells.

Scientists have known for decades that fluid injection can cause earthquakes in areas that have not experienced earthquakes previously.

The USGS, National Earthquake Information Center ( NEIC ) identifies the earthquake locations.

·     One of the earthquake’s epicenters identified by USGS is also the location of a plugged and abandoned historic oil well identified by the ODNR. It is situated in a legacy oil field among over a dozen historic wells. 

Most of the historic wells in the area were drilled to the Berea formation at a depth of around 900 feet but some wells were drilled much deeper to depths of over 3000 feet.

The ODNR map  identifies the locations of the Hilcorp wells, the legacy well located at the epicenter of the earthquakes and the locations of over a dozen other historic wells nearby.
Even cement plugs that aren’t located at the epicenters of earthquakes shrink, crack and leak over time, many only last around 20 years.
 According to the New Castle News , Paul Caruso, a geophysicist for the National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., said a magnitude 3 earthquake could cause small cracks in buildings.

It's been business as usual since the quakes, work has resumed on the pipelines built to transport billions of cubic feet of natural gas to Pennant Midstream’s Hickory Bend cryogenic gas- processing plant located in Ohio's earthquake zone.

The cryo facility is located approximatly 3 ½ miles from one of earthquake's epicenters. 

Have the earthquakes put a dent in Pennant Midstream’s plans to pipe billions of cubic feet of natural gas from all over the Shale gas region into the heart of Ohio’s newest earthquake zone?   

Earthquake map:
Google map, 2 of the earthquake and well site locations identified:
 Four earthquakes ripple through Valley Monday
Mar 10, 2014 2:48 PM EST Updated: Mar 11, 2014 9:51 AM EST
 The well site plat maps may be downloaded from the ODNR website.:
 Hickory Bend plant ready for business:
 Pennant Midstream Announces Hickory Bend Cryogenic Processing Plant Ready for Service January 06, 2014