MERCER COUNTY —
Let the drilling – and fracking – begin here.
“The first step is kind of a wait and see,” said Richard Hunter, vice president of investor relations for Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc.
While other companies are waiting and watching, Carrizo holds the first permit to drill and ultimately horizontally-fracture, or “frack” into the Utica shale to produce natural gas beneath Mercer County, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said.
He said the permit is for a tract in West Salem Township, but he didn’t have its exact location.
Hunter said Carrizo wouldn’t release that information to protect the owner of the property.
The DEP issued the permit on April 24 and it’s valid for one year, Poister said.
“I’m told there is other activity beginning to bubble up,” he said. “We’ll probably see some other permit applications in the coming (months).”
Receipt of a permit is “the first baby step toward drilling a well,” Hunter said.
Carrizo’s a “pretty small company” and isn’t trying to be a trailblazer in the county, Hunter said.
They “would prefer some of the larger companies” drill here first, “so we know what the risks are,” Hunter said.
“The company that drills first assumes the most risk,” he said. “We are doing our background work in order to eventually drill a well.”
The company is also looking at locations in Ohio where it may drill first, he said, noting it depends on which area’s government agencies are easiest to deal with.
“The least complicated answer will be the one to be getting drilled first,” Hunter said.
Carrizo has yet to drill into the Utica shale, a rock formation 8,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth believed to contain natural gas reserves that’s similar to, but deeper than, the Marcellus formation that’s caused a drilling boom in other areas of Pennsylvania.
Carrizo’s permit may mark the beginning of a boom to the county’s economy, county Commissioner John Lechner said.
“I know the drilling activity is going to come with an increased demand for services. It’s also going to bring increased demand for employment,” he said. “My long-range hope is that jobs work their way into this area.
“I’m excited from a personal perspective,” Lechner said.
He’s leased “all 12 of my acres in Hermitage” and is looking to lease more property he owns in Crawford County.
Commissioner Matt McConnell’s also leased some of his family’s land, McConnell said.
As commissioners, they’ve directed the county’s lawyer, Bill Madden, to look into leasing opportunities for county-owned land like the 142 acres adjacent to Interstate 80 at U.S. Route 19 in East Lackawannock Township that was once hoped to be a prime parcel for economic development and is instead commonly called the “gravel pit” because it’s leased to a sand and gravel supplier.
“I am going to estimate we have potentially 500 to 700 acres,” that could be leased, Lechner said.
Leases are fetching between $3,500 and $3,800 an acre, with $25,000 “disturbance fees” being paid to owners of land that becomes a drilling site, Lechner said.
“And the royalties are 17 to 18èpercent,” he said.
MERCER COUNTY —
Let the drilling – and fracking – begin here.
- Local News
Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault
Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.
Despite good deeds, man going back to prison
Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.
15-year-old legal battle returning to county court
State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Southwest mulls how to adopt study points
Even though some members of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department had little respect for a study of the department completed by a consultant, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. pledged to implement as many of the study’s recommendations as he could.
Beader plans to resign, just not yet
Democratic Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader acknowledges that he intends to resign, but said nothing will happen until after he meets privately with the county’s judges next Thursday.
Aiding Buhl Farm animals
Some of Steven Jubelirer’s fondest memories of his mother, Natalie, was when they would walk together in Buhl Farm park, Hermitage.
News briefs from April 15, 2014
Man charged with attack on his wife in Walmart
Woman arrested for stabbing man with knife
3 injured in pickup-motorcycle crash
Judge orders Marin removed from ballot
Saying the testimony of Congressional candidate Mel Marin of Sharon wasn’t credible, the Commonwealth Court has ordered Marin’s name removed from the Democratic Party’s ballot for one of area’s congressional seats in the May primary because Marin now has less than the required 1,000 valid signatures.
Fire ruled accident, but cause unknown
The fire in Greenville-Reynolds Industrial Park was most likely started by workers who were gutting the building, according to a deputy fire marshal.
Mertz tenant charged with arson
A tenant who was being evicted from her apartment because of bizarre behavior is accused of setting her sofa ablaze at Wade D. Mertz Towers in Sharpsville.
Crafting a new downtown
We’ll know better five years from now what lasting impact public interest in the arts and boutique shopping had in efforts to revitalize downtown Sharon with small businesses.
- Have van, need drivers to serve elderly
Technology aside, constant has been serving community
Wow ... I was thinking about The Herald’s 150th birthday during the weekend, and realized that I’m getting old – I’ve been here for more than a quarter of that century and a half.
Herald marks 150th year
The Herald today, April 14, celebrates 150 years of serving area readers and advertisers.
Attorneys preparing work for murder trial
Emerging from his chambers after about two hours of meeting with attorneys in Ralph L. Young’s murder case, Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John thanked spectators for their patience in waiting for the public portion of the hearing.
- More Local News Headlines
- Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault