A hydraulic fracturing well used to extract Utica shale gas in Westmoreland County will now be plugged and rendered non-operational. Canonsburg’s CNX Resources, who owns and operates the well has stated that they will be permanently plugging the Shaw 1G well due to its history of serious issues.
Though the Shaw 1G well has had a history of problems, a pressure change observed towards the end of January this year. The Shaw 1G is used to harness the natural gas in the Utica shale play, which is further underground than the Marcellus play. As such, the Shaw 1G has to drill deeper into the ground than the average well and endure higher pressure levels. In January, well workers observed a sudden drop in the well’s pressure, while nearby wells observed spikes in their pressure simultaneously, indicating some sort of breach. To remedy the issue, CNX used a tactic called ‘flaring’, in which natural gas is burned off at the well pad to relieve the pressure underground.
This incident has proved to be the final stroke for CNX, who has announced its plan to spend $30 million on the Shaw 1G pad this year, which can be assumed to cover pre-plugging preparation and the actual plugging of the well. The closure of the Shaw 1G will certainly have an effect on natural gas production in Westmoreland County and for CNX.