Consol Energy

October 9, 2013

Ohio will soon authorize fracking wastewater pools

Source: Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), October 7, 2013
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Ohio regulators will soon approve and permit large, exposed centralized impoundments that hold fracking flowback water.

These are used widely by oil and gas companies in other states to recycle the waste and serve multiple wells near one another .

The impoundments, or pits, which sometimes exceed the size of a football field and can hold millions of gallons of water, are now banned in Ohio.

But they’ve proved a useful asset to companies operating in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The impoundments serve as water-transfer stations for multiple wells nearby, greatly reducing the amount of truck traffic and the water necessary to drill and frack those wells.

Existing Ohio regulations permit use of lined impoundments that hold freshwater for drilling. Flowback, or fracking wastewater, however, must be stored above ground in covered steel tanks before disposal or reuse.

But effective Jan. 1, the centralized impoundment pools will be authorized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as part of a regulatory change state legislators made in the biennial budget bill signed in June.

Changes to the law likely came after input from the industry. Operators consider centralized impoundments a key to further developing the Utica Shale play.…

August 6, 2013

Pennsylvania drillers eye shale layers atop Marcellus

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 31, 2013
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The question of fracking the shale layers above and below the Marcellus has transitioned from an “if” to a “when” for many oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania. On that, they agree; how to do it is another story.

In recent discussions with analysts, executives at three of southwestern Pennsylvania’s largest oil and gas firms shared contrasting views about what they believe happens when two wells are fracked on top of each other.

They were talking about their companies’ experiments with the Upper Devonian formation, which is a group of shales that lies only a few hundred feet above the Marcellus.

Downtown-based EQT Corp. has changed its strategy after monitoring four Upper Devonian wells for a few years. Rather than drill Marcellus wells now and come back for the Upper Devonian bounty later, the company decided to drill more of these shallower shale wells at the same time as the Marcellus ones.

Their Upper Devonian wells aren’t the most stellar in terms of gas production, executives said, but it makes sense in the context of an already constructed well pad and paved access road, with all the necessary equipment already on site, to toss another horizontal spoke into the ground.

Philip Conti, EQT’s CFO, told investors that waiting too long after the Marcellus is fracked before tapping the Upper Devonian could deplete the shallower formation or cause interference between the two.…

January 14, 2013

Risks remain at coal slurry ponds

Read here about risks that remain at West Virginia coal slurry ponds.


May 23, 2011

Private firms poised to treat wastewater

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , May 19, 2011
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Companies whose specialty is treating wastewater are hoping for a surge of business after today’s deadline for natural gas drillers to voluntarily stop sending their toxic flowback from hydraulic fracturing to publicly owned treatment plants.

“It’s a game changer. My phone is ringing off the hook,” said David Grottenthaler, general manager of Kroff Well Services Inc. on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

“The diluters and the dumpers (of drilling wastewater) are done,” Grottenthaler said, referring to an earlier practice of relying on streams and rivers to dilute metals and salts in drilling wastewater that flows back to the surface after fracturing Marcellus shale that holds natural gas deep underground.

Kroff Well Services and Reserved Environmental Services LLC in Hempfield in Westmoreland County are among at least five private companies in the region offering alternatives to treating millions of gallons of wastewater at publicly owned treatment plants. Aquatech International Corp. in Cecil; Comtech Industries Inc. in South Franklin in Washington County; and Siemens Water Technologies in Marshall also are players in yet another line of business that is benefiting from Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom.…

March 21, 2011

Company accused of illegal dumping

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 18, 2011

State prosecutors charged a Greene County man Thursday with illegally dumping millions of gallons of Marcellus Shale wastewater, sewer sludge and greasy restaurant slop in holes, mine shafts and waterways in a six-county region from 2003 to 2009.

“He was pouring the stuff in any hole he could find,” said Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

All the while, an investigating grand jury indicated, Robert Allan Shipman was building his bank account, earning up to $7 million a year, according to the presentment.

The grand jury recommended 98 criminal charges against Mr. Shipman, 49, of New Freeport and 77 counts against his company, Allan’s Waste Water Service Inc. for their alleged actions — sometimes under cover of darkness or during heavy rains — in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.…

March 16, 2011

Coal miner Consol to pay EPA $5.5 mn for pollution

Source: The Economic Times, March 15, 2011

Coal miner Consol Energy agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $5.5 million in civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations at six of its mines in West Virginia, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

Consol will also spend an estimated $200 million in pollution controls to reduce discharges of harmful mining wastewater into Appalachian streams and rivers, the DOJ said.

The Pittsburgh-based mining company said in a separate release its agreement with the DOJ, the EPA and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) would set the highest standard for mine water treatment.

Consol said it agreed to pay the EPA $5.5 million, without admitting any liability. The amount was previously recognized in the company’s financial statements and will have no impact on 2011 earnings.…