Last night people opposed to drilling a few wells at the U.S. Steel Edgar Thomson Plant in a Pittsburgh suburb turned up to complain that somehow a noisy, air-polluting steel plant will be made even nosier and more polluting by drilling a few shale wells on the property. It’s an absurd position to argue, but there you go.
NOTE: We’ve added a handy update from Merrion, outlining this project.
Next Wednesday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on plans to drill a shale well(s) on the property of U.S. Steel Corporation’s Edgar Thomson Plant in a Pittsburgh suburb. What’s so unusual about the well(s) is that U.S. Steel itself will be “the sole consumer of the natural gas extracted.” That is, U.S. Steel will use the gas to power/feed the steel plant.
Pittsburgh’s oldest still operating steel mill, U.S. Steel Corp.’s Edgar Thomson steel mill, may soon be home to more than just a foundry. A privately owned oil and gas company headquartered in New Mexico–Merrion Oil & Gas Corp.–has signed a lease with U.S. Steel to drill a series of six (possibly more) shale wells on the Edgar Thomson Works property in Allegheny County. The plan is to drill one Marcellus well to begin with, and after testing, expand that with five more Marcellus wells. However, Merrion is not ruling out deeper wells to tap the Utica. Even though the location for the wells is as industrial as industrial gets–with noisy steel making (and the air pollution that goes along with it), antis are complaining that drilling a few shale wells will turn their lives into a dung heap. Nothing new about their reaction. What is new is Merrion. This is their first entry into the Marcellus/Utica region. Until now, Merrion has concentrated on other regions. According to one biased news outlet, Merrion has “no experience drilling into deep, tight, shale formations like the Marcellus.” Whether or not that’s true, we don’t know (we tend to doubt it). What we do know is that Merrion is a privately owned, family company started in 1960 by a former petroleum engineer. Merrion is not some upstart company that doesn’t know anything about the oil and gas business–quite the opposite. Merrion has already had preliminary meetings with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection about their plans. An official permit request should be coming any time over the next three months…