Response to EID Post: Why I Support Natural Gas Development in My Township
I have not been running from the debate, but!
1. Very often a significant Quality Concern mandates Rapid Mobilization and Addressing. Such happened recently and I had to devote my time to rectifying so the show could go on without a hitch.
2. And, I needed time to address my Passion for Safety, Quality, & Integrity in this fabulous business that has given me many new friends, allowed me to be reacquainted with old ones, learn new things, and share my knowledge and beliefs.
3. That said, I thought through the many ways I believe we need more control at the local playing field and then this happened:
EPA: 40K Gallons Dumped; Hagan Demands Arrest
Wow, did that give all of us pause for thought and concern? In fact, so much concern that posts of it have been deleted on some LinkedIn Pro Utica & Marcellus Groups. Censorship is not good from either side, we need open dialogue to generate new ideas and police ourselves. Almost the whole month of Jan-2013 before the state agencies could respond, because of their restrictions!! With Local Jurisdiction, the Police Department or Sheriff could have made an arrest and stopped in at the start. What causes one to have so many disregards for the environment, such greed, and possibly even so much hate? I am sure that you all agree that 99% of us would not do this, nor would we want to. We should openly discuss it to more readily have answers if it happens, which is something that a few of us do (So much for a Social Life, but it is what we love). If you have been around for a bit, you would know that I have longed questioned Deep Injection Wells, both because their instability has been called into question since the Rocky Mountain Arsenal quakes that started in 1961 and D&L Energies long time evidence of pollution, the many violations on both PA & OH, and some very pro-active fans of drilling who work at some of the Youngstown area Tubular Mills, making Casing, OCTG, and Line Pipe.
Historical Precedence
There is definitely historical precedence for manmade causes of earthquakes in Colorado.
“This state is the biggest natural laboratory in the world for human-induced earthquakes,” Matthews said. “There have been three major experiments in the state concerning human-induced events that prove human activities can indeed touch off earthquakes.”
The most famous episode of a human-induced earthquake began in 1961, when a 12,000-foot disposal well was drilled in the U.S. Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal northeast of Denver. The well was used for disposing of nuclear waste & fluids from arsenal operations, and injection commenced in March 1962.
Shortly thereafter an unusual series of earthquakes erupted in the area, and by the end of December 1962 about 190 earthquakes had occurred. None caused damage until December, when several structures were damaged in Dupont and Irondale.
Over 1,300 earthquakes were recorded between January 1963 and August 1967. In April 1967 the largest earthquake since the series began in 1962 occurred, and damage was recorded in the arsenal, Derby and Boulder. This tremor measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.
Even after the Rocky Mountain Arsenal waste dumping practice stopped, earthquakes continued to be felt in the Denver area, so in 1968 the Army began removing fluid from the arsenal well very slowly in an effort to reduce the earthquake activity.
The second episode was in the 1970s at the Rangley Field in northwest Colorado, Matthews said. The USGS heard reports that earthquakes in the area were touched off by water flooding in the field.
The USGS got permission from Chevron, the field’s operator, to conduct an experiment in part of the field on some abandoned wells. The USGS stopped injection in the area, and earthquake activity dropped from about 50 a day to one or two. Scientists then began injection again to determine if the earthquakes would increase again when the pressure built up. Sure enough, the episodes jumped back up to about 50 a day.
The USGS shut down injection operations and the tremors died down.
The most recent experiment is in the Paradox Valley, where the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is attempting to prevent salt from entering the Dolores River and then flowing into the Colorado River, according to Matthews.
“The Paradox Valley is a salt anticline, and the salt in the Delores River comes from the ground water,” he said. “The Bureau of Reclamation has drilled a series of wells all along the river to intercept the ground water flowing into the river, and that water is then injected into a 14,000-foot injection well.
“The bureau has a very talented seismo-tectonic group that researches earthquakes related to dams and other projects, so when this Paradox Valley injection program began they expected to generate earthquakes,” he continued. “They installed a network of instruments to monitor any activity and, sure enough, tremors did start when they began water injection.”
The program has generated over 4,000 earthquakes, but most are too small to be felt on the surface, he said. The earthquakes built until June 2000 when there was a magnitude 4.5 event. That earthquake was large enough that Bureau of Reclamation scientists began looking for a remedy to the situation.
Today the USGS said the bureau is injecting water every other month to minimize the earthquake activity.
“There’s not another place in the world that’s had as many manmade earthquakes as Colorado,” Matthews said. “For that reason we have to look seriously at any series of tremors we have and determine their cause.”
There have been earthquakes in the Trinidad area in the past, and no manmade cause for those earlier quakes has been found. Also, there have been earthquake swarms in the state.
But this swarm is unique in that the events occurred so close together. That’s why residents are hopeful that data from the USGS instruments will provide some answers — fast.
4. So back to the debate. From early 2011 to early 2012, I was a Vendor Field Quality Assurance Manager for a Major E&P working in The Shale Gas Fields at a Vendor of the products needed to bring a well on line and keep it producing safely. In my business my only task is to assure the INTEGRITY of Equipment, including the GPUs or Gas Production Units seen at the well pads. This vendor had no real Quality Program in effect and really didn’t care about anything, but get it out the door. My client was paying a premium to have some equipment upgraded and it was an almost daily task to keep on top of assuring that the welds were Quality and the Equipment had a high Degree of Mechanical Integrity. The philosophy of your too picky was there and if it looks good, ship it out, and process the invoice.
5. Now, you have to remember that when a PO for Equipment is processed, the Vendor Agrees to Comply with what is known as a Standard and any Governmental Rules, Laws, and Regulations and then a Customer Specification, which is usually much stricter than the Standard or Law. So, think of it this way, API and The State Environmental Agency write the rules, the client (Which In This Case is YOU) then writes an ordinance (their Specification) and work proceeds. If you have to wait for a distant agency or Organization to determine an answer days can be lost, as happened in Youngstown last week. I am the eyes of the Customer, educated & trained to interpret the Standard and authorized to make the decisions on site. Since both the State Seat of Government and API are distant, someone needs to be onsite to make the needed quick decisions. In your case, it would be the Township Supervisors or at best an Agency such as myself.
6. Lest you think I am even thinking of taking Range Resources to task, a situation that they are aware of happened at this vendor. Unbeknownst to me, before I started on my project, Range had purchased some Equipment and found, as I hear it, upwards of 50 bad welds after delivery to the field. This just gave me more determination to be stricter with the various weld issues that I encountered. Now, I know you do not want bad welds that may possibly be the cause of a fire or explosion. Just think of the publicity of deaths, destroyed homes, destroyed equipment, loss of livestock, pollution, law suits, and just overall negative publicity, nor does Range Resources or any other E&P. I commend Range for being proactive on this and immediately getting the bad welds removed and replaced, putting the Equipment in Proper Operating Condition and their admirable Safety Record in Washington County attests to this. During this period a lawsuit was in progress and this vendor actually boasted about it. Professional Accountability kept me from contacting Range, but believe me, I often thought about it during the times of frequent frustration and rework to comply… I am not really sure how the lawsuit ended as I finally told the vendor, this was something that I didn’t want or should know about.
7. I will take the chance that a may make a few foes because of this entry, but I bet I will also make a few new friends.
8. Remember this sage piece of advice: “Keep your friends close, but you enemies closer”, attributed to Sun-Tzu Chinese general & military strategist & author of The Art of War, another tome that all should read. We don’t really call anyone out as an enemy, but the real Sun-Tzu’ book is really a well written practice for business success too.
9. I do not believe that Act 13 is good, but it is a start and hopefully with local dialogue and the fact that it becomes a living document, we can achieve equity for all.
10. I just wished the greed wasn’t a factor and for too many locals that is all it is about. PA is a Commonwealth, not a State. Look up Commonwealth and get back to me.

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