Gastar Exploration resolves Marcellus completions legal challenge

Gastar Exploration Inc. has announced the resolution of a legal challenge to its West Virginia operations and results of recent Marcellus well completions.

A West Virginia state judge has rejected the second of a pair of lawsuits launched by a unit of Axiall Corp. aimed at stopping Gastar Exploration Inc.'s hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus Shale.

In a December 24, 2014 order, Circuit Judge David W. Hummel dismissed Gastar from a lawsuit filed by Eagle Natrium LLC in Marshall County, West Virginia, requesting a temporary injunction.  In doing so, Judge Hummel agreed with Gastar's position that Eagle was legally precluded from retrying its claims in West Virginia after losing a nearly identical lawsuit in Pennsylvania earlier this year.

Less than a week later, the trial court threw out the lawsuit's remaining claims against the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which Eagle was pursuing in an effort to invalidate operator permits issued to Gastar.

Last October, a similar lawsuit Gastar faced in Pennsylvania was shut down after Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward found that Eagle failed to prove that Gastar's hydraulic fracturing activities in West Virginia present a threat to Eagle's adjacent salt mining operations.

J. Russell Porter, Gastar's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "In denying Eagle's initial bid for an injunction, Judge Ward noted that Gastar had previously drilled and hydraulically fractured 57 Marcellus Shale wells in the vicinity without any impact on Eagle's operations, the environment or public safety.  We are gratified that both courts made decisions based on science rather than fear. Gastar plans to fracture treat the three Goudy wells impacted by the Axiall lawsuits within the next 60 days."

Gastar has recently completed and brought on line 10 new Marcellus wells in Marshall County, West Virginia.  These wells are producing at a combined gross rate of 28 700 Mcfd of unprocessed natural gas and 3300 bbls of condensate per day on a restricted basis while still flowing back significant amounts of completion fluid.  These are the first wells Gastar has completed using an enhanced completion technique designed to segregate and stimulate differently pressured portions of the horizontal wellbore. Based on these initial results, we plan to continue to utilise this enhanced technique.


Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

Published on 06/01/2015


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