New Castle News

March 24, 2012

Hilcorp Energy plans two wells; Shell Oil will continue drilling at existing sites

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Hilcorp Energy Co. is seeking permits to drill two gas wells on property at Route 551 and Garner roads.

It already has applied to the state Department of Environmental Protection for the permits to drill on the property of Laird and Joyce Whiting. The applications are under review and are pending, according to eNotices issued by DEP.

Hilcorp also is required to obtain conditional use approval from the township because the property is in an agricultural district. Under the township zoning ordinance, conditional use approval is required to mine mineral extractions.

The company has not yet sought that approval. Once its application is submitted, the township will conduct a public hearing and the supervisors will have authority to decide on it. They may place conditions upon any approval.

According to DEP information, Hilcorp plans to drill one  7,700 foot deep non-Marcellus vertical well and a second  non-Marcellus non-vertical well with a length of 12,022 feet.

They plan to start around May 15, pending all of the required approvals by DEP and the township.

Hilcorp also has sought permission from the DEP to withdraw about 1,440,000 gallons of water per day from the Shenango River in Pulaski Township for natural gas well development, according to a certified letter received earlier this month by the county commissioners.

Attempts to reach Hilcorp executives were unsuccessful.

Shell Oil Co. prospects include continued drilling at the Harry Patterson farm in New Beaver Borough and plans to drill on the Anne Clark Kephart property in North Beaver Township, off Route 551.

A permit for a well at the latter site was approved March 16 by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

A second drill rig already is in place on the Patterson property.

(Email: dmorris@ncnewsonline.com)