New Castle News

February 14, 2012

Shell reports good results with well drilling

Debbie Wachter Morris
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Shell Appalachia is happy with its results so far in drilling exploratory gas wells in Little Beaver Township.

Scott Bruner, Shell business integration manager, said the drilling “has caused a level of excitement for us.”

Although the company won’t say what its drilling results were there, “what we expected, we found it,” Bruner told about 60 people in the Lincoln High School auditorium Monday night.

Shell scheduled a meeting in the Ellwood City area to inform the community of its plans for exploratory drilling for Marcellus Shale in Lawrence County this year and to describe how it conducts its drilling operations.

The company’s emphasis is on safety for its employees, the environment and the community, Bruner said.

Shell has plans to drill 150 wells this year in Tioga County, in northeast Pennsylvania, which is part of a development of wells to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

And while Tioga represents a “development,” work that will go on in Butler and Lawrence counties is still exploratory, he said.

“We really don’t know what we’re going to find. Some of these (exploratory wells) may not be productive, some may have a sweet spot,” he said. “We’re hopeful. We really don’t know where we’re going to be at this time next year.”

He emphasized the company’s focus for right now is on the Marcellus shale.

So far, Shell has 5,700 active leases in Butler and Lawrence counties, covering about 86,000 acres, according to Kimberly Windon, Shell communications specialist.

The company, which has headquarters in Wexford with two offices in Cranberry, also has set up an office on Butler Road in an office complex across from Giant Eagle.

Property owners who have concerns or questions about leasing and the drilling operations on their property may contact the company’s new hotline at (877) 842-7308 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Following is an updated snapshot of the exploratory wells Shell is planning to drill this year locally:

•The Patterson farm off Mount Air Road in Little Beaver Township. Four wells. Drilling should take place between early March and May.

•The Kephart farm off Mount Jackson and Enon Valley roads in North Beaver Township. Two wells. Drilling planned for late September.

•The Mayberry property off Route 19 in Scott Township. Three or four wells. Drilling should begin between mid-July and September.

•Twentier property, near Breakneck Bridge Road in Perry Township, about 300 feet from the McConnell’s Mill State Park border. A single well pad. Work to begin in mid-March. Joe Minitte, Shell’s case manager for Lawrence and Butler counties, said drilling direction will be away from the park.

•The Williams property, Butler County. Three to five wells. Work is expected to begin in early May through mid-July.

•The Drake property, Worth Township, Butler County. Two wells. Drilling to begin mid-July through mid-September.

•Puryear farm, Butler County. Starting between May and July.

(Email: dmorris@ncnewsonline.com)