Shelter/Natural gas

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jasonl6, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. jasonl6

    jasonl6 Monkey+++

    Hello all. This is my first post but i've been lurking for awhile reading up on things. I'll give you a little information on my situation and then ask my question. I live in rural Pa in a small community of 30-35 people (we have more farm animals than people). I will not be bugging out if somthing happens but do have a GHB incase as i work 12 miles from home. I have been thinking about making another location to hunker down in if things were to get really bad (mass exodus of people from our northern neighbors in NY state). We have around 50 acres but my house is right next to the road and I would not be comfortable living/sleeping there if people were hungry/despret. On the back side of our property i have a location that would be a good site for some type of shelter. I havn't decided what type i would build yet but i am thinking a cement structure of some type probably block as i can do that work myself (previously laid foundations).

    Water is not a problem as we have several springs that feed the property. Protection of the site is also nice as there is nothing behind this property as far as houses or road access for miles. I am working on the food situation and currently have enough provisions for 5 months (including 1000 + lbs of beef/pork some canned most frozen). I make my own sugar from maple syrup that we harvest on our property. I do need to work on my grain situation yet.

    My question revolves around the natural gas. As many of you know pa is rich in natural gas. We have an old well on our property and from the deed searchs we have done we belive we have the mineral rights. If you get up close to the well (within a foot) you can smell the natural gas. I was wondering if anyone has any experiance with there own wells or they had resurrected an old well. I know it needs a new casing as it has water in it and we can hear water dripping into it. Any idea on the cost of this? If the well has water seepage is there a way a homeowner can pump the water out themselves?

    I would like to get the well up and running so i can use it for heat in my shelter and also as a source of energy for a propane generator. I also wonder if i could convert a RV style refrige that runs on propane/12v/120 to operate on natural fuel? I know propane burns hotter and uses a smaller orifice (SP?) and that allot of times you can drill them out with a number style drill bit so that natural fuel can be used.

    Any thoughts?

  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Jason, Anything that runs on Propane, can be converted to NG, with only one little "gotcha". That is, do you have enough NG Pressure from the Wellhead to maintain an 11" Water Column of NH at the end of your feed line? Your RV Refer Unit, is most likely, one of the Ammonia over Hydrogen, Sealed Systems, and these will run on ANY Heat Source, so NG if you meet the gotcha, will work nicely. You may not have enough pressure at the NG Pipe end, to run a Genset but certainly that could be expanded when the new casing is installed. You really NEED to make sure that you own the Mineral and subSurface Rights to your Land, BEFORE, you put much money into any NG supply system. I would check with your States, Department of Lands & Natural Resources folks, as they will be familiar with all the Legacy Rights in your area.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Also PA in the gasicane area. Try, there might be someone there than can answer your question directly. You will need to know a lot about that well, but it sounds abandoned to me (and probably very shallow.) That will take a title search to be certain. What county are you in? The data may be on landex, but not all counties are listed.

    Now, I have to say, you are NOT smelling natural gas. NG is odorless, so something else (possibly toxic) is present. Go carefully around the well head with hot stuff, just in case, and you might bag a sample of the gas right at the well head and get it analyzed.

    Digging out all the dope you will need is tedious, but necessary. I'm assuming, tho you didn't say, that you are moderately recent in moving in. If you don't know otherwise, I suspect that you have an old water well, or (since it stinks) maybe the pipe is an old septic tank vent. Throw this paragraph out if you know 't'ain't so.
  4. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Do you have a tree valve in which you can install a pressure guage?
    If so see what the tubing pressue is...
    You will only need a few oz's to run a generator..
    If this is a very low pressure well,consider a 50 or 100 gallon volume bottle so that you do not out run your supply..
    and yes raw natural gas does have a odor to it..I've smelled plenty in the last 35 year's...H 2/S being the worst..
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, there is H2S in sewer plant off gas and other waste streams, but in commercial gas, it is one of several odorants added to make sure leaks can be detected. It does NOT occur naturally normally. (These days, the odorant is more likely mercaptan, it's less toxic.)
    If you can smell anything AND there is ng in it, the heating value is in question, and may not be able to fire a gen set or any thing else.
    If there is any pressure at all, there is a good chance you can feel a draft if there is no valve to close the well off to measure pressure. With a flow measuring device, it is possible to estimate, rather closely, the well's potential output.
    The volume tank is a good idea. [winkthumb]
    It's time for me to bow out of this, and for a hands on techie to get involved, in the field, at the well. With one more caveat: If there is ng present, take only spark free tools in the area.
  6. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    First off, even if you do have the mineral rights that does not mean you own the well. The well and any equipment on or around it belongs to an oil company and is their property. If you tamper with it in any way you may find yourself in jail, if you survive.

    Look for a lease sign, they are required by law in every state. Usually a small metal sign near to the entrance to the site. It will have coordinates on it, the legal location ie; block, section etc. and it will have the name and the contact number for the company that owns the well.

    Second, a natural gas well is not an old water well, it is highly dangerous and not something to be tampering with. H2S is a very real possibility and a highly deadly gas. I don't believe what you are smelling is that tho. Most low level gas wells produce an odorous smell very similar to H2S. Especially in low lying areas. It is noxious but not necessarily toxic.

    My advice is to leave it be and do not tamper with it. Now in a SHTF scenario, when there are no legal issues to worry about, it would be possible to tap into it. Providing that it has adequate pressure to feed a supply line. I would stock up on enough copper tubing to reach from the well to my retreat. Do not use plastic or any teflon as the gas will eat it away.

    Some things do not sound right to your story. Is there a well head on the well? You should not be able to hear anything dripping inside a cased well. Are you sure it isn't an old abandoned water well? If it was an abandoned oil or gas well it would by law have been plugged and sealed. If you can take and post some pictures of the well and the surrounding site and I could tell you more about it.

    But whatever you do, do not tamper with it. It belongs to someone. Owning mineral rights only means you are due compensation for the amount of mineral (gas or oil) that is extracted from underneath your property. It does not mean you own anything to do with the well itself.
  7. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    All great points . If there is a lease on it that will be found on the deed in the Courthouse ,you may have to back many years to find it .The one on my place was done in 1884 .
    If there is a lease you contact the company that now holds that lease. Around here they will not let you just open it up for use .
    I have owned two places with gas wells on them and the only thing I was allowed to do myself was the piping from their meter to the house ,they use a meter to keep track off the usage and to keep a regulator in place.
    One of the places had way to much pressure and had to be stepped down before it could be used at the house .
    But first you want to start with the courthouse and the deed !!
  8. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    As Minuteman stated a few picture's...and then we will have a better idea at what you have....
    It is possible the well was shut-in due to low line or flow pressure,Which mean's there is still gas downhole but not enough to buck line pressure...But plenty enough to run a generator for a long time...
    Just throwing out idea's.....
  9. jasonl6

    jasonl6 Monkey+++

    I'll try and get pics over the weekend. To answer some of your questions. I live in potter county. I know for sure it's a gas well as there is a 2" supply pipe comming off it it (after about 10' it's rusted through). The well has a fitting where something screwed onto it at one time, it's maybe 4" around and nothing is there so thus being able to smell and hear things. I know natual gas is oderless however withing 10 miles of me are numorus pump stations and holding wells. I would assume some of these could leak into my old well? It's deff not a water well. We have owener to property for 20+ years and before that it was owned by our former neighbors before that for over 75 years. Neither of us used it. There however use to be a factory about 1/2 mile away. They had the old wood pipes with bands around it from a spring about 500 yards away from this. We bought the rights to the spring about 28 years ago and developed it. When we ran the water line from the spring to the houses it was almost 1/2 mile. We we actually able to go through one of our fields and under a main road through the old wooden pipes. I have no doubt that this belond to the factory at one point but know it's 100+ years old.

    We have never considered doing anything with it but the more i think about it the more i can see how valuable having your own supply could be. The sping i was talking about gravity feeds 3 house so even when electric is out i am gtg. I would like to same the same about my natural gas and electric and would seriously consider buy a generac natural fuel generator if i could use/buy whatever this well.

    Oh there are no signs around this well. NONE. I have looked and look and can find nothing except a few old fittings.
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