The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finalized a Consent Order last week with the Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P. for unauthorized activities at the Collier – Hogan well south of Lake Trafford in Collier County.
“The department caught the Dan. A. Hughes Company conducting unauthorized activities and immediately took action to assess the maximum civil penalties. In addition, the department is requiring Dan A. Hughes to hire an independent expert, approved by the department, to conduct ongoing groundwater monitoring of the area to ensure no damage to the environment or risk to the public occurred because of their unauthorized actions. The results of the monitoring will be reviewed by DEP experts.”
Background: The department closely regulates oil and gas exploration and extraction to protect public safety and our environment. Every activity is thoroughly reviewed to address waste fluid disposal, well integrity, groundwater protection and spill prevention.
On Dec. 23, 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection received a well completion procedure notice, also known as a workover notice, from the Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P. This request was for work to be conducted for well permit number 1349H, the Collier – Hogan well located south of Lake Trafford in Collier County. The drilling permit for this well was issued on Dec. 18, 2012, and the operating permit for the well was issued on Aug. 9, 2013.
The department had concerns about the workover notice, which proposed an enhanced extraction procedure that had not previously been used in Florida. The company proposed to inject a dissolving solution at sufficient pressure to achieve some openings in the oil bearing rock formation that would be propped open with sand in pursuit of enhancing oil production. The department requested Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P. not move forward with the workover procedure until additional review could be performed.
However, on Dec. 31, 2013, the department became aware the workover procedure had commenced, without approval. Because of the actions of Dan A. Hughes Company, the department was not afforded the opportunity to complete its review of the proposed procedure before operations began. As a result, a Cease and Desist Order was issued and the department immediately pursued formal enforcement.