WEST UNION, W. Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered operations at a well pad in Doddridge County to cease after an accident last week resulting in the possible contamination of drinking water.

While drilling on the Primm Pad near West Union, Antero Resources notified the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas of a detected gas influx on September 23.

“DEP Oil and Gas Inspectors were notified of a gas influx Tuesday afternoon,” David Belcher, Assistant Chief of the Office of Oil and Gas said. “Wednesday morning, there were further indications that there was a contact with another well existing on that pad and later that day it was confirmed.”

Initial information for the investigation by the DEP indicates the drill for the Stella 1h well collided with the functioning Callie 2h well Monday night.

Upon the collision, methane gas was released from the Callie, underground, affecting the surrounding area.

“Thus far, it appears to have affected four personal water wells, two existing gas wells,” Belcher said. “One of those was abandoned. The other one was owned by an operator. There are indications of gas flows to those.”

The four water wells have been disconnected while samples are being analyzed to determine if they have been contaminated. Antero is providing water to the residences affected, as is required.

The DEP is also inspecting eight other water wells within the vicinity as a precaution, because with the gas spreading to the two other wells, the contamination has the capacity to reach further.

Belcher said the first priority for them was dealing with the leak from the Callie.

“The Callie has been secured of any further gas releases from down hole,” he said. “[Inspectors] do work in the hole to evaluate this damage as close to the surface, which is approximately 641 feet from the surface.”

While the investigation into the cause of the accident and damages continues, the DEP’s restrictions on the drilling operation remain in effect.

“There has been a cease operations by their office enacted on the Stella 1h, which there are provisions necessary on there for abatement,” Belcher said. “Also, two violations that were issued along with that cease operation.”

Antero must prove it has control of the site to the DEP before it can resume operations.

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  • gas patch worker

    If the collision happened 641' from the surface and intersected a producing well bore on the same pad, Antero simply screwed up. These well pads can have up to 16 wells drilled on them. In this case Antero knew they were drilling adjacent to a producing well, and should have taken surveys of their new hole ever couple hundred feet to ensure the bit wasn't deviating from vertical alignment. They just chose to plow ahead without taking the necessary precautions. The state should come down hard on them as they frequently have issues. You can drill these wells safely if you take a few precautionary measures. BTW - this had nothing to do with fracking... but I'm sure many will try to make the connection. This well was just getting started. The frac would still be weeks if not months away. The producing well had likely been cleaned up and put on line for some time with very little of the frac fluids still in the well bore. JMHO

  • Ole Sasquatch

    "there were further indications that there was a contact with another well existing on that pad and later that day it was confirmed.”
    My questions:
    1. How much area did the existing pad cover? 2. Is this the same Co. that had that well?
    3. Don't they have to go into existing records of where previous wells were located before drilling?.
    4. Does the range of horizontal drilling explain any of the questions above?
    I am not clear at all from the story above how this could of happened, which should have been one of the main points of the story. If no interest in that, this will happen over and over again.

  • just a guy

    Had this been a coal company contaminating any water source this would have made national news. Mineral extraction of any kind is tricky business with that said I guess most people posting on this site would prefer none. Without fossil fuels we would return to the dark ages no industry,no jobs, complete and utter anarchy would reign with tyrants deciding who would live and who will die. Oh my!... this almost sounds like what were heading towards. If people believe the government will be there to save you think again....

  • Mason County Contrarian

    You're right, jethro.

    Lesson learned. Thanks, I needed that.

  • Doddridge County 'Eer

    It is not just the methane in the aquifer. What about the Toluene? What about the carcinogen Benzene which is present in drilling and likely in these water wells? What about the fracking fluids from the Callie well that are now able to get into the freshwater supply?

  • jethro

    he who lives in glass houses.....

  • jethro

    i thought that the water was safe with these well? hmmmmm???

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    Sounds like you have been to the DEP industry seminars...death by 10,000 cuts has been said many times by the same person at those meetings...

  • David

    I agree. In fact, I see from this report that the system worked. Notification was given, steps were taken to notify everyone affected.

    I guess the same people who do not want drilling because an accident may happen do not drive cars for fear of a crash. I am pretty sure they do not fly in planes either.

    Next time you you fill up your car with gas ask yourself how it got there? Oh my guess we need to ban tankers because they can and do wreck.

    Give me a break bubble people.

  • Jason412


    Thanks for your answer. I, too, entirely support becoming energy independent. However, I just don't want to see it happen at the cost of the livelihoods of some citizens. One thing that should not ever be at risk is a mans water supply.

    I support the process when it is done completely right. That means no contaminated wells, no waste water dumps, no earthquakes, no half-assing anything.

    I think you are very correct to say the industry needs to slow down a bit. The gas isn't going anywhere. No reason to rush a job and ruin someone's, or an entire communities, water supply

  • ThatGirlOverThere


    And amen to the "slow down" reference you made above. As someone also on the regulatory side of things for 3 years, I can attest to the fast pace and crap-subcontractors being at fault for nigh on every mistake. I agree that the engineering and science is sound, but we (WV) need to regulate it more strictly than we are! The State needs to step up and put some stricter regulations in place; providing some checks and balances to slow things down would greatly improve the multiple facets of the industry that seem to be failing. But then again...WV's government is all about industry and making a dime as history tells. Folks, this piece of land you claim to love so much can only handle so much! Death by a thousand cuts is where we're headed, slowly but surely.

  • Beth Little

    How many more "accidents," violations, spills, fires, etc. is this company going to inflict on the people of Doddridge Co before it becomes clear that this company should be shut down.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    The reasons for hitting another lateral can be far reaching...bad geotags on the location of the lateral, a tool downhole that has a malfunction, false reading, etc. Antero may be a leading producer, but some of the subcontractors they use to drill their wells, complete them, etc. are not industry leaders...lowest bidder wins the contract. The one thing I don't like about the industry is that we do everything at a breakneck pace...I wish the industry would slow down a little isn't perfect by any means, but the less we rely on the middle east for energy the better...I fought for this country in the military, this is my way to continue the fight against the middle east...get our energy from here, not there... I am not an expert, but I do have a more indepth knowledge than an average joe.

  • GregG

    I have said many times before..........when all is said and done this Marcellus boon will be just like coal, chemicals, oil and timber. A few will become richer and the residents of this state will be paying the price for years to come.

  • Jason412


    " Antero f'ed up..."

    In your own words in your post below this is hardly the first time. How many people will continue to lose their water supply while Antero continues their "environmental unpreparedness"?

    I do have a question if you wouldn't mind answering since you work in the industry, how does one well "collide" with another well? I have a pretty good understand of horizontal drilling, but I was under the impression the drillers knew exactly where they were drilling.

    Seems like just stupidity and negligence. As I said the other day any company who has a continuing pattern of such behavior should be criminally charged. If they can't do the process right, they shouldn't be drilling.

    As you said, a company like this ruins it for the whole industry. Being the second biggest producer in the state and not some fly-by-night drilling company worries me.

    "all will go back to normal"

    Until next time they do it.

  • Robert

    How Antero is still doing business in WV is beyond me. Maybe it's because of the piles of money Tomblin sleeps on every night

  • Robert

    You heard it, boys. We've reached the pinnacle of human achievement with fracking. Gas is here to stay!

  • ThatGuyOverThere


  • ThatGuyOverThere

    As drilling technologies advance, we will be able to drill not only the marcellus formation but other formations that are much deeper such as the Utica (which Hunter Triad is already doing in WV). These advances will allow us to easily drill for the next 20 - 40 years...we're not going anywhere...And more than a couple hundred people have benefited from this industry...thousands of people are employed in this industry and tens of thousands of people are indirectly effected though other business ventures associated with this industry. Antero f'ed up...they will re-case their affected wells, the methand will dissipate out of the aquifer, and all will go back to normal. Might as well get on board, this industry is not going anywhere...

  • Jason412

    After looking it up and seeing Antero is the second biggest producer in WV second only to Chesapeake, that is not very encouraging at all to hear.

  • H2O is required for life

    West Virginians may have no clean drinking water after all the drilling but at least a couple hundred people will have jobs for the next 4-5 years???????????

  • Jason412

    Last week: "The sweeping conclusion is that hydraulic fracturing releases natural gas and/or methane into water aquifers, which ends up in water wells.

    But new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences debunks the thesis of that claim." - Hoppy's commentary

    This week: 4, possibly 12, water wells poisoned when methane is forced into wells.

    I'll support the companies that do drilling right, but far to many are not. I hope Antero wont be part of drilling under the Ohio.

  • ThatGUyOverThere

    I have worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for over 3 years now on the regulatory side...Antero Resources is known for 2 things, killing workers and environmental unprepardness... I love the oil and gas industry but some of the companies are wreckless and downright dangerous...The state needs to take a hard look at the efforts (or lack thereof) of Antero Resources to run a safe and effective drilling site...They give the entire a bad name.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    "been operating"

  • Mason County Contrarian


    Antero must have operating a naughty business.

    It's "halts".