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February 18, 2013

Shale Update: Gas from 2012 wells entering pipeline

NEW CASTLE — Wells drilled a year ago in Lawrence County are producing natural gas that is entering a pipeline for consumers.

Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation under Lawrence County is now being pumped from two wells on the Harry Patterson property in the New Beaver Borough area into a major pipeline and is being sold, said Joe Minnitte, case manager for Shell Exploration and Production Co.

“The Patterson well is in production,” Minnitte said. “We connected it at the end of November to the Tennessee pipeline. It’s pretty large. Basically, we just tie right into it.”

Upon connection to the pipeline, Shell’s job is done with it, Minnitte said. “Once the gas flows to the meter it belongs to whoever runs the pipeline and it has nothing to do with Shell.”

The Patterson well is perhaps the first in the county to have natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in production.

DRILLING TO CONTINUE

Meanwhile, as spring approaches, shale drilling companies are continuing with plans to tap into the region’s rich natural gas reserves located within the Marcellus and Utica shale resources.

There are no new permits yet this year in Lawrence County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection oil and gas information website.

According to Minnitte, Shell’s plans for Lawrence County this year include drilling a few wells, but its drilling operations primarily will involve returning to sites where drilling already has been done and they will continue to drill more wells at those locations.

Those will be at the Twentier site in Perry Township, he said, and a couple more at the Anne Clark Kephart property off Route 551 in North Beaver Township, where one well is being flared.

He said the company expects to bring its rigs back to the county in the spring to resume drilling.

“We’re still gathering results,” he said. “I couldn’t speak to Hilcorp, but as far as what we’re doing, we’re still collecting data so it’s not in full development yet. We’re still in the evaluation and appraisal process, as far as finding out how much natural gas is actually here.”

Attempts to reach a Hilcorp spokesman were unsuccessful.

So far, Shell has drilled three wells at the Mayberry site in Washington Township, four at the Patterson site, two at the Twentier site in Perry Township and two at the Kephart site.

From Jan. 1 last year through last week, the DEP has issued 301 permits statewide for unconventional gas well drilling and operating. A total of 102 of those are in Bradford County. Thirty-five permits were issued for oil and gas wells in Lawrence County during the past year.

Also within the past year, 19 wells have been drilled in Lawrence County, according to the DEP website. Shell and Hilcorp Energy are the only two companies that have secured permits or have done any drilling here so far.

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