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How Gas Wells Leak

How Gas Wells Leak

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All gas wells leak - just a matter of when. Adding more casing solves nothing.

All gas wells leak - just a matter of when. Adding more casing solves nothing.

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Published by: James "Chip" Northrup on Sep 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/25/2014

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1
How Gas Wells Leak
Gas wells leak from the outside up, then from the inside out.Horizontal wells 4 times more likely to leak than vertical wells.Sooner or later, they all leak.
 
The DEC’s proposed “enhanced requirements” for wellconstruction will not keep Upstate drinking water from beinggassed. Gas wells leak methane from the outside of the casingup, then from the inside out. As they rust out, all gas wells willeventually leak into groundwater. The only viable solution isadequate setbacks of gas wells from drinking water sources.Gas well setbacks in New York are the worst in the UnitedStates.
1
 
1
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/72545747/Worst-Fracking-Regs 
 
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The DEC’s proposal to require a 3
rd
casing in gas wells will notsolve the chronic problem of gas wells leaking methane intogroundwater. This is due to three factors, none of which aresolved by additional casings :
1. Methane is mobilized during the drilling process.
Every drillbit is operating in an uncased well-bore and any gas itencounters is going to be circulated up via drilling fluid throughuncased sections of the well-bore. Most of this gas is capturedby the gas separating unit on the drill rig, but not all of it.
2.
Methane is released on the outside of the outermostcasing
.
2
The outermost layer of cement will not adhere tocertain types of rock, including shale. Cement shrinks over time, causing gaps to form that allows gas to flow upwardsbetween the casing and the rock. Once this starts to happen,the well bore itself becomes a pathway for methane to pollutegroundwater. See Figure 1 which illustrates how gas channelsup between the outer casing and the surrounding rock.Horizontal wells are particularly prone to leaking –
4 times morelikely to leak than vertical wells.
3. All gas wells will eventually rust out and leak
. Not a matter of if, only a matter of when and how much. Unplugged wells willleak faster than plugged ones.
3
Some well leaks can berepaired from the inside. Many wells will leak on the outside of the casing, which defy repairs.
4
The Wall Street Journalreported that 1in 10 new gas wells tested in Pennsylvanialeaked. On a 10 well drilling site, the odds of leakage approach100%.
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Over time, they are all apt to release methane intogroundwater.
2
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/65704543/Casing-Leaks 
3
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/77582900/Orphaned-NY-Oil-and-Gas-Wells 
4
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/80574646/Well-Failures
 
5
 http://blog.shaleshockmedia.org/2012/03/13/its-not-the-fracking-frack-its-all-that-other-fracking-stuff-wsj-discovers/ 
 
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Figure 1 Methane Release Outside the Exterior Casing
Evidence of such leaking can be observed within the casinghead atthe bradenhead gauge as well as in the surrounding soil. Sustainedcasinghead gas pressures are common in the industry; indeed theyare a chronic problem, as evidenced by Figure 2, which indicates thatby the 5
th
year, 25% of the wells tested were leaking, and by the 8
th
 year, 40% of the gas wells tested were leakers.
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These statistics tendto confirm the high rate of methane migration found by the researchteam from Duke In Pennsylvania. Gas wells leak. And all of them willleak eventually. Gas well leakage has been known to the industry for decades. The amount of leakage is immaterial from an economicstandpoint – particularly if the gas channels up the outside of thecasing. It has become an critical environmental issue now thatthousands of gas wells are being drilled intensively in rural areas that
6
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/76174462/Schlumberger-Gas-Leak-Study 

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