Lessons learned from last year’s hurricane, Irene, reinforce the notion that a company can never be over prepared for possible natural disasters.
While super storm Sandy demonstrated its overwhelming strength by knocking out power to millions of people in the northeast, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation did not suffer any operational or environmental damage in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, thanks to astute preparedness and the high standards it sets for Marcellus Shale development.
Cabot’s preparations for this storm started at the end of last week with the securing or removing of anything from active sites which could blow over or tip. Pumps and necessary equipment for water withdrawal along the Susquehanna were also removed in case of flooding. At active locations, drilling pipe was removed from the derricks and staged on the ground. The derricks themselves did not have to be lowered; a decision each individual contractor made after analyzing all available information about the storm. All drilling operations were suspended during the storm.
Completions activities continued until the storm reached the area. During the storm, equipment remained on location and did not incur any damage.
At Cabot’s production locations, no well heads or processing units were damaged. The high standard to which Cabot builds its pad sites and the stringent erosion and sedimentation controls it employs prevented negative impacts to the local environment.
GasSearch Drilling Services (GDS) prepared for the subsequent cleanup of the storm by staging equipment at various locations. A number of Cabot’s contractors also had manpower and equipment ready for deployment. The primary concern following a storm like Sandy is clearing debris that might affect access to existing site or prevent Cabot from resuming operations.
As part of its commitment to the community, Cabot offered aid to the county EMS by securing extra generators and stand ready to dispatch manpower to help clean up as needed.