NEW CASTLE —
Hilcorp Energy Corp. is eager to Meet-U.
The Texas-based shale drilling company is inviting the public to visit the Pulaski Township municipal building Tuesday to tour the Mobile Energy Education Training Unit, an educational trailer that provides detailed facts about the gas and oil well drilling and fracking process.
The trailer, informally called Meet-U, will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., said Tom Havranek, Hilcorp’s local director of operations.
The trailer is equipped with a video screen and DVDs showing from start to finish how a well bore is constructed. It is supplemented by a presentation from an instructor schooled in the drilling industry, Joe Hulsizer.
Hulsizer is project coordinator for the Meet-U program and works for Friends of Drake Well Inc., which owns the mobile unit.
The educational exhibit features pieces of Marcellus shale rock, drill bits, a perforating gun, different types of frack sand, the actual steel casing that is put into the ground and the cement used in the process, Hulsizer explained. “We really try to have all the parts and pieces of the process.”
“The trailer is geared to be like a classroom environment,” Havranek said. “It shows how a well bore is constructed and fractured and all the things that happen during the drilling and completion of a well.”
The trailer holds about 10 to 12 people at a time and information is presented in an interactive way.
Hilcorp is renting it for a day to make it available to everyone in Lawrence County. If there is an overwhelming response, the company will schedule another day, possibly at another location, Havranek said.
“My opinion is that, as a general rule, the industry has not done a great job of educating the public about how the whole process works.”
Havranek added he will be at the unit most of Tuesday to talk to visitors about drilling and fracking and “to explain all the steps we take to protect the groundwater.
“I was raised here,” said Havranek, who is a Lawrence County native and Laurel graduate. “ It’s my intention to make this a better place, not to change the dynamic to make it worse.”
The trailer is funded by 11 sponsors including Universal Well Service, Shell, Chevron, the Pa. Propane Association and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association.
Since MEET-U opened in 2009, more than 90,000 people have visited it in more than 20 counties in Pennsylvania, as well as New York and Ohio.
Its purpose is to educate the public about the oil and gas heritage and encourage thinking about ways to change future energy consumption to minimize adverse impacts on the environment, according to a Drake Museum webpage fact sheet.
MEET-U also offers an in-the-classroom program that targets fourth-graders and meets state and national standards in social studies, economics and science, according to the site.
More information about the unit is available online at www.drakewell.org/meetu/index.html.
NEW CASTLE —
Hilcorp Energy Corp. is eager to Meet-U.
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