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Marcellus Issues in West Virginia: An Introduction

Industry Videos

Chesapeake Energy has a set of 6 videos which describe the steps in drilling a well and producing natural gas. There are truly educational moments, such as the description of laying a pipeline. Viewers of these videos, though, should remember that this is advertising, that facts are being withheld, and that certain elements of the process are not shown at all.

Drilling site selection. Note that there are many disgruntled leaseholders and in some areas the leaseholders don't even live in the same state where drilling is actually taking place.

Preparation and drilling. Cementing and casing are not automatically protective. These processes have to be done properly and with care. Blowout preventers fail about 5% of the time. One good thing to note is the dike around the perimeter of the pad. There is also a drainage area that can be sequestered in the case of a spill. These are two elements of pad construction that should be in West Virginia regulations or guidance, whether the pad is for a horizontal or vertical well.

Natural gas well completion. Gel fracture fluids can have about 6 gallons of a solvent per 1,000 gallons of water. The solvents can be extremely toxic.

Natural gas well production. This has the segment on laying a pipeline. Note that in this state condensate storage tank secondary containment regulations include a rainwater drain requirement not shown in the video.

Aqua Renew water recycling. There should be, at a minimum, a dike around the water recycling facility. Any spills will adversely affect surface and ground water. The recycling of flowback "water" is commendable but is not done everywhere.

Well site reclamation. In West Virginia, proper well site reclamation after drilling can require a court order. That's what some surface owners have to resort to.


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  • Call the Governor toll free at 888-438-2731.

Contact Legislators

  • Call your state legislators at the Capitol via this toll free number 877-565-3447.

Contact DEP

  • Share your concerns with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at 304-926-0499.

Report accidents and spills

  • WV DEP Spill Hotline 1-800-642-3074
  • National Response Center 1-800-424-8802
  • EPA Eyes on Drilling Tipline 1-877-919-4372 or email


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