Natural Gas Wells are No Longer Being Drilled at Edgar Thomson

Natural Gas Wells are No Longer Being Drilled at Edgar Thomson

U.S. Steel is no longer moving forward with Marcellus Shale gas wells being drilled at the Edgar Thomson Steel Mill in North-Versailles. The steelmaker recently announced that it terminated the lease with Merrion Oil & Gas Corp. for a 10-acre tract to be used for a natural gas well. U.S. Steel wanted to use the gas from 18 planned gas wells to heat blast furnaces at the Mon Valley Works and the Edgar Thomson and Irvin steel mills as well as heat the Clairton Coke Works. It will not be moving forward with another drilling company.

Merrion is headquartered in Farmington, New Mexico. It has drilled in 17 states but has not drilled in Pennsylvania and it does not have any experience drilling unconventional, horizontal wells in any shale formation. No explanation has been given as to why it terminated the lease. Some have speculated that it could be Merrion’s lack of experience or delays in getting state and local permits, but U.S. Steel has not disclosed this information.

If the project went through, the 13.4 acres would have been disturbed for well pad construction, two access roads, five freshwater storage tanks, 2,770-feet of natural gas pipeline, and 2,990 feet of freshwater pipeline. If the wells were drilled, pipes would have been sent 6,000 feet into the ground before running side to side for two miles.

Many people have been opposed to this project based on the fact that Merrion does not have the proper drilling experience and it would have an impact on 21,000 residents in the surrounding communities of: Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, Munhall, North Braddock, North Versailles, Rankin, Turtle Creek, Wilmerding, Whitaker, and West Mifflin.

The community surrounding the proposed project has been opposed since it was announced. Residents of the area worked with local leaders and political figures to stop the fracking from happening. Many hazardous pollutants can be released into the atmosphere when companies drill for natural gas. The drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and diesel emissions from trucks can increase emissions of methane in the atmosphere and other harmful substances can be released including benzene, ethylbenzene and n-hexane.  These pollutants can cause cancer among other serious health problems. Shale gas fracking is also the largest emitter of volatile organic compounds, which create ground level ozone and smog.

Exposure to harmful carcinogens can lead to different forms of cancer. If you were exposed to a harmful substance and now have cancer, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us by calling 412-471-3980 or by filling out our contact form and one of our attorneys or staff members will get back to you as soon as possible.

Don Hopey, “U.S. Steel ends proposed shale gas well project at Edgar Thomson steel mill” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (April 23, 2021). [Link]

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