Sunday, May 23, 2010

Local Water Well Driller offers insight into Marcellus shale drilling Process

Local Water Well Driller offers insight into Marcellus shale drilling Process"

2-10-2010 by Sally Zegers  (this is not my work)

"Francis Tully of Poyntelle, Pa., a well driller for most of his life, weighed in recently on drilling for natural gas in the area, based on what he calls the science of the drilling process. The Tully Drilling Company was started in 1928, by his father, Ben Tully."
" Tully Drilling was a major and well respected business in Wayne County for several decades, serving farmers and small business people across the area. Over the years, according to Francis Tully, the company drilled 10,000 wells across several counties and two states, and he still has the files to prove it."
"He says the phenomenon of "fracture zone seepage" is relatively common in Susquehanna and Wayne Counties and drillers often found natural gas while drilling for water. The internet features several videos of people "flaring" matches at water faucets in Susquehanna County, which is cited as evidence that gas drilling is damaging private water wells. However, drillers fifty years ago often found that they could flare matches at the faucets. According to Francis Tully, near Clifford, in Susquehanna County, "nearly every well in the area" has natural gas."

"According to Francis Tully, the photographs he’s seen of the (water) well that blew up in Dimock, Pa. on New Year’s Day 2009 lead him to believe that the (water) tank itself blew up. He believes the (pressure) switch froze in the on position, and it couldn’t switch off, allowing pressure to build and build until the tank blew apart. "Tanks do blow up," he says, noting that he’s seen it happen many times over the 60 plus years he was in the business. According to him, one tank came up through the floor of a living room, hit the ceiling and ended up on the divan. "
"He believes drilling for natural gas should be "perfectly safe" as long the drillers use three layers of pipe, using surface casing down to 1,000 feet, then drilling 7,600 feet to the Marcellus Shale. Then you case it again and grout it. The level at which water is found is relatively shallow. Drillers will bore through it with boreholes encased in steel and concrete, to protect the water supply, Tully points out. The Marcellus Shale is more than a mile underground. The different levels of rock and shale in the earth are like "pages in a book," he says. He points out that the layers of rock protect the water in the upper level. Fracturing, something water drillers have done for years with dynamite, only fractures the rock close to the well, not the thousands of feet above it.

He considers the entire development of gas drilling an exciting topic. “I wish I was twenty years younger. I’d be drilling,” he says.

He sold the building that housed the business about two years ago, and retired, albeit reluctantly, but still travels around to drilling sites and talks with the men behind the machines. “I don’t have a college degree, so I’m an unpaid consultant,” he smiles.

He regrets junking the first Ford truck that Ben Tully used to start the business, but has accumulated few other regrets over a lifetime of work. Following the flood of 2006, many local wells in the area were underwater, but because of the materials used and the attention to detail, none of the Tully wells was contaminated. He is quietly proud that his reputation, and that of his family, is secure.

I agree with the multiple casings and I would agree that at least 3 protective casings is a great idea.  I would suggest the first casing to about 300 feet, then about 750 to 1200 feet, and the next protective casement at 2500 to 3000+ feet.   These casements should be cemented and inspected.

I reposted this because I know Mr. Tully and have great respect for this individual.

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