Encana

Well with holes rusted through on John Fenton's property
John Fenton

Pavillion homeowner John Fenton is questioning whether abandoned wells near his home were properly addressed to eliminate contamination. The Fremont County town has been plagued since 2008 with contaminated water from underground natural gas with citizens complaining of discolored and foul smelling water. Since then, gas-producer EnCana has worked to plug abandoned wells and pressure test them to ensure there’s no interaction between gas and water.  

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is once again considering a proposal to dispose of oil and gas wastewater in the Madison aquifer in Fremont County.

The proposal would allow waste from the Moneta Divide project to be injected into a 15,000 foot aquifer. Encana originally petitioned for the aquifer exemption back in 2013. Aethon Energy has since purchased the field.

The water in the aquifer is considered to be good quality, but the company has argued that because it is so deep, it won’t ever be used as a drinking water source.

The state says it will release both the draft and final versions of reports investigating water contamination in Pavillion. The clarification comes after landowners wrote a letter to Governor Matt Mead protesting the state’s plan to release the draft to Encana, the oil and gas company some accuse of polluting the water, before releasing it to the public.

Mead's spokesperson, Renny MacKay, says by releasing both copies, and the comments provided by Encana, the Environmental Protection Agency and an independent expert, the public will be able to see the evolution of the document.

A program to provide clean water to residents of Pavillion will get underway in the next week. The town has problems with contaminated well water, which some attribute to nearby oil and gas development. An investigation into the source of the contamination is ongoing, but the governor’s natural resources policy advisor, Jerimiah Rieman, says the state felt it had a responsibility to take action -- not only for residents’ health, but also their assets.

In the latest sign of an industry-wide move away from natural gas, Encana is selling its Jonah Field properties. For more than a decade, Encana has been one of the largest natural gas producers in Wyoming thanks to the field near Pinedale, but company spokesperson Doug Hock says moving forward, Encana is trying to diversify its assets.

“So that we’re not tied to one particular commodity. Or we’ve got more flexibility in terms of oil versus natural gas,” Hock says.

Natural gas prices hit a 5-year high this week in response to news that another bout of extreme cold weather will hit the Northeast and Midwest in coming days. Previous cold snaps this winter have led to record consumption of natural gas, which in turn has drawn down reserves. In response, prices have climbed more than 40 percent since the beginning of the year, reaching over $6 per million BTU Wednesday.

Doug Hock is a spokesman for Encana, the largest natural producer in Wyoming. He says the upswing is a welcome change of pace, after years of low prices.

Governor Matt Mead is committing $400,000 dollars for water delivery to households with cisterns in the Pavillion area. Residents have long complained of unusable well water, which some blame on nearby natural gas development. The money is part of a grant from Encana Oil and Gas, which operates in the Pavillion gas field.

19 cisterns are currently being installed, with another 13 households signed up.

The Governor’s Natural Resources Policy Advisor, Jerimiah Rieman, says residents will meet later this week to discuss how to use the money.

Five workers were injured in a fire that broke out around 10:15 Friday morning at an Encana facility in the Jonah Field near Pinedale.

“We do know that some welding work was being conducted on some condensate tanks," company spokesperson Doug Hock says. "This was a battery of half a dozen tanks. However, the exact reason for the fire is not known at this time.”

Encana broke ground today on a treatment facility for produced water -- the contaminated water that's pulled up along with oil in the drilling process. The Neptune Water Treatment Facility will sit outside of Casper and serve the Moneta Divide field, which currently has about 300 wells but could eventually have more than 4-thousand. The facility will treat some of the produced water from current wells. A controversial plan to inject wastewater into the Madison Aquifer is another water disposal method Encana plans to use in the field.

Study outlines risks of injecting waste into aquifer

Jun 27, 2013

A study found that if wastewater were injected into a deep portion of the Madison Aquifer, it could potentially contaminate drinking water supplies in other areas.

Encana Oil and Gas has asked for permission to dispose of brine and drilling waste in the aquifer. The company says it would inject the waste into an area where water quality is already poor and which is so deep that it would be an impractical source for drinking water, regardless.

Landowners in Wyoming are upset that the Environmental Protection Agency is relinquishing its role in a study that could link hydraulic fracturing with groundwater pollution.

The State of Wyoming is taking over an investigation of water quality in Pavillion, from the EPA. Encana Oil and Gas has natural gas wells in the area…and the EPA started testing water wells there after residents complained that the water was becoming polluted. The agency released a draft report in 2011, which tentatively linked the contamination to fracking.

Encana’s Moneta Divide Natural Gas and Oil Development Project outside of Casper is still waiting for an Environmental Impact Statement, but it is slated to receive a record of decision in 2016. The proposed four thousand well development has brought up questions surrounding water management and air quality. But at the legislature’s Joint Mineral, Business, and Economic Development Interim Committee meeting yesterday, Natrona County Commissioner Rob Hendry said he wants the project to go ahead.  

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for more information from Encana Oil and Gas before signing off on the company’s request for an aquifer exemption. Encana wants to pump waste water into the Madison Aquifer from their oil and gas field in the Moneta Divide. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has already approved the request, but the EPA says the modeling of the plume that Encana did is too broad and the agency wants more information about why, according to Encana, the relatively clean water can’t be used for other purposes .

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for more information from Encana before it okays an aquifer exemption allowing the company to pump waste water into the Madison aquifer near Casper.

Irina Zhorov

During its hearing today/Tuesday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reaffirmed its earlier decision to grant Encana an exemption that permits them to pump produced water deep into the Madison aquifer. The injection well is located about 60 miles west of Casper.

The oil and gas development company asked for the exemption based on the Commission’s economic and technological impracticality criteria…which grants an exemption based on the idea that it’s impractical to use the aquifer for drinking water anyway.

Irina Zhorov

During its hearing today/Tuesday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reaffirmed its earlier decision to grant Encana an exemption that permits them to pump produced water deep into the Madison aquifer. The injection well is located about 60 miles west of Casper.

The oil and gas development company asked for the exemption based on the Commission’s economic and technological impracticality criteria…which grants an exemption based on the idea that it’s impractical to use the aquifer for drinking water anyway.

The Padlock Ranch in Sheridan County is being recognized for using sustainable management practices.
 

The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Sand County Foundation have chosen the 500,000-acre cattle ranch to receive the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award.
 

Padlock Ranch COO Trey Patterson says the ranch’s owners, the Scott family, are conservation minded. Patterson says that’s why they rotate the areas where cattle graze to allow grass to recover.
 

A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit
that Encana Oil and Gas filed against a tribal judge on the Wind
River Indian Reservation.
     Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne last week dismissed Encana's
lawsuit against John St. Clair, the chief judge of the Shoshone and
Arapaho Tribal Court.
     Encana sued St. Clair in February claiming the tribal court had
no jurisdiction over the company. The lawsuit followed St. Clair's
ruling that Encana must answer a wrongful death lawsuit filed by

Encana Oil and Gas says the Environmental Protection Agency is moving too fast with its draft analysis of ground water contamination in the town of Pavillion, and has asked the EPA to suspend the public comment period.

In a letter dated January 6th, Encana oil and gas asked the EPA to suspend the public comment period until the agency’s plans were better explained and additional critical data could be disseminated.

Canadian energy corporation Encana says “the EPA made critical mistakes and misjudgments” when it released a draft report linking water contamination in the town of Pavillion to hydraulic fracturing.

Earlier this month, the EPA released a draft report on their three year water contamination investigation… indicating that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds that are “likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing.”

In early November, a Texas-based company called Legacy Reserves LP announced that it would purchase oil and gas properties in Fremont County: primarily properties owned by Encana in the Pavillion area. Late last week, Legacy Reserves pulled out of the deal.

In 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation in the Pavillion area after residents complained of health problems and changes in the odor, taste and color of their well water. Last night, the EPA released new data from deep monitoring wells in the area. 

Over the years, Pavillion residents have complained about health problems, which they blame on oil and gas development in the area. Governor Matt Mead says he's keeping an eye on what happens at a public meeting over the situation tonight.

"I think everyone should be rightfully concerned about the Pavillion issue because we're not sure what's been going on out there," Mead said. "I know the EPA today is going to release some additional data that we're going to be eager to take a look at hopefully before any big conclusions are drawn one way or another."

Over the years, Pavillion residents have complained about health problems, which they blame on oil and gas development in the area. Governor Matt Mead says he's keeping an eye on what happens at a public meeting over the situation tonight.

"I think everyone should be rightfully concerned about the Pavillion issue because we're not sure what's been going on out there," Mead said. "I know the EPA today is going to release some additional data that we're going to be eager to take a look at hopefully before any big conclusions are drawn one way or another."

Residents of the town of Pavillion say a company called Legacy Reserves LP has entered an agreement to purchase natural gas properties in the area from the current owner, Encana. 

Representatives from Legacy Reserves did not return calls to confirm the sale, but according to their website,  the Midland, Texas-based company will purchase several properties in Freemont County, where Pavillion is located, for 45-million dollars.