Seismic Testing Coming in July to Washington County, OH Town

Seismic testing is coming to Fearing Township (Washington County), OH starting in July. Seismic testing usually precedes drilling–so that means drilling is most likely on the way. The testing will allow drillers to “see” the best locations to place wells. So how will Protege Energy III, the company that’s hiring the testing done, go about doing the testing? No big thumper trucks along roadways for Protege. Instead, they favor drilling small holes and putting small explosive charges in the holes and recording the sound waves that bounce from the explosive charges. Protege held a community meeting earlier this month in Fearing to discuss the process and answer questions…
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Fracking Killed the Rabbits!

Proving anyone can sue anyone else for anything in our litigious society, here’s one we’ve never heard of before: Fracking killed the rabbits. Or rather, helicopters being used for seismic testing flew too low over a rabbit farm and the owners claim the noise essentially scared the rabbits to death. Some 168 (out of 300) rabbits supposedly keeled over after hearing a helicopter. Boo! Whoops. There goes another one!…
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“Listen” Up: WV College Offers New NatGas Geophysics Major

West Virginia Wesleyan College, a private college in Buckhannon (Upshur County), WV, sits in the midst of Marcellus drilling country. So it only makes sense for the school to want to tap into the industry and offer a degree related to the booming shale industry. But instead of offering a “me too” degree in petroleum engineering, Wesleyan has decided to focus its degree on the fascinating area of geophysics–or more properly seismic readings and determining “what’s down there” by bouncing sound waves through the rock. All of the new degree programs being offered by schools in the northeast are needed–along with good jobs training programs offered by community colleges (in areas like welding). However, we applaud Wesleyan, a smaller school of some 1,400 students, for staking out a different path to assist the industry. Kids, “listen” up! Geophysics is a great field.

Here’s the Wesleyan announcement about their new program, set to begin this August…
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Anti-Drilling PA Dem Rep. Matzie to Introduce Seismic Testing Law

Anti-drilling Democrat PA Rep. Robert F. Matzie (District 16) is set to introduce new legislation in the Republican-controlled PA House that will make it nearly impossible for seismic testing to take place in the state. He intends to introduce a bill that automatically assumes seismic testing is responsible for damage to property within 1,000 feet of where it happens. If a thumper truck goes down your road, and you want to get that crack fixed that’s been in your basement wall for the past 10 years, here’s your chance. Just claim seismic testing is at fault and send the bill to the testing company. Nuts.

Here’s the rather funny announcement from Matzie saying this legislation is really not anti-drilling, oh no, and that he only wants to protect Pennsylvanians from evil, nasty seismic testing companies…
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Peters Twp School Board Votes Down Seismic Testing

Peters Township in southwestern Pennsylvania is one of the seven selfish towns that challenged the Act 13 oil and gas law passed a few years ago–and won (see Ongoing Fallout from PA Supreme Court’s Wrong Act 13 Decision). What did they win? The state is in disarray and doubt about the future of the $200 million plus per year collected from Marcellus Shale drilling, thanks to Peters and the other litigious towns. The “selfish seven” believe their own local zoning boards with no geologists or oil and gas experts are better equipped to handle complex matters of oil and gas drilling than the geologists and experts who work for the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. The very definition of hubris.

So it should come as no surprise that the Peters school board has just voted to deny a request by a seismic company to run some wires across school property to conduct seismic testing and mapping of what lies below not only the school’s property, but the land neighboring the school’s property…
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Kirkwood NY Landowner Group Actively Negotiating Lease Deal (!)

too much hope is dangerousWhat’s this? Signs of life in moribund New York on the gas leasing front?? Indeed it’s true. MDN was tipped on two bits of news that will be encouraging for some New York landowners. One bit of news is that the Kirkwood, NY Gas Coalition (outskirts of Binghamton, NY, in Broome County) may soon call for a meeting of coalition members. It seems behind the scenes the coalition steering committee has been negotiating a gas lease for members.

The second bit of news is that some NY landowners who live close the border with PA (in the Kirkwood and Windsor areas) have been contacted and asked to sign an agreement to allow seismic testing on their land. We have a copy of a generic contract proposed by the Kirkwood Coalition attorney (embedded below) which he says strikes a better balance for landowners who want to sign such an agreement. Both pieces of news together give a spark of hope for NY landowners. But let’s not go overboard. As Donald Sutherland’s character says in the Hunger Games, a little hope is a good thing, a lot of hope is dangerous…
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Tesla Thumper Trucks Arrive in Murrysville, PA This Month

Seismic testing thumper trucks will arrive in Murrysville (Westmoreland County), PA at the end of this month, according to Murrysville Chief Administrator Jim Morrison. MDN told you in December that Murrysville residents were being approached by ION Geophysical to allow testing on their land for $5 per acres–Starbucks coffee money essentially (see Thumper Trucks Coming to Murrysville – Make a (Very) Few Bucks?).

According to MDN’s December story, the seismic testing would be performed by ION and begin in February. The testing that starts later this month, in January, is from Tesla Exploration–a different company. What’s not clear to MDN is whether or not Tesla is doing their testing on behalf of ION, or in addition to ION. Maybe a sharp MDN reader with knowledge of the situation can elucidate? At any rate, one thing is for sure–seismic testing is coming to Murrysville, and soon…
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Final Chapter in GPX Saga of Using Illegals in PA Marcellus

We thought the final chapter had been written about GPX, a Texas-based seismic surveying company doing work in Pennsylvania for the oil and gas industry that was caught using illegal aliens to work on their surveying crews. Last March we told you the company admitted to the scheme and agreed to pay out some big money (see GPX Pleads Guilty in Using Illegal Aliens for PA Marcellus Work).

It’s taken 10 long months, but on Thursday in a federal courtroom in Harrisburg, PA the final chapter really will be written:
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Thumper Trucks Coming to Murrysville – Make a (Very) Few Bucks?

It’s certainly not a lot of money, but landowners in the Murrysville (Westmoreland County), PA area may have the opportunity to pick up some pocket change. One method used in seismic testing–finding out what’s down there–is to use “thumper trucks” that pound the ground, sending sound waves into the earth that are recorded with special equipment which allows geologists to draw maps of underground rock structures.

ION Geophysical Corporation of Houston, TX is sending thumper trucks to the Murrysville area in February, and landowners who are selected and agree to allow the trucks access on their land can get a one-time payment of $5 per acre. Depending on how much land you own, it will at least buy a few cups of coffee at Starbucks…
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Murrysville, PA Officials Offer Advice on Seismic Testing

An town councilman from the Pennsylvania borough of Murrysville (Westmoreland County) wants to make it very clear: ION Geophysical does not have permission to use township rights-of-way for seismic testing. The same official, who is not anti-drilling by a long shot (he’s a geologist), also has a few words of advice/warning for private landowners who are contemplating whether or not to sign agreements to allow testing (for a measly $5/acre)…
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Halcon Resources to Begin Seismic Testing in Mahoning County, OH

Let the thumping (in Mahoning County, OH) begin. Mahoning County commissioners have approved a one-year road use agreement with Halcon Resources that allows them to perform seismic testing along county and town roadways. Halcon will pay $600 per mile, post a $100,000 bond (for the county) and a $50,000 bond (for each of six townships) where they will test. Halcon will also spend some major money repairing roads even before they begin testing…
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Belmont County, OH Seismic Charges: Trespass or Honest Mistake?

Sandy Putorek, who lives in Pittsburgh but owns a 30-acre farm in Lansing (Belmont County), OH, is anti-drilling. It is her American right to refuse what she claims are many offers to lease her property for Utica Shale drilling. It is also her right (so long as she owns the mineral rights) to refuse seismic testing on her property. However, while recently visiting her land she noticed tracks across her property. When she followed them, she had a surprise: someone had installed small explosive charges used for seismic testing–without her permission. Now Sandy is (understandably) fighting mad.

The company that installed the charges is removing them, claiming bad maps from the county led to the charges being mistakenly placed on Sandy’s land…
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Seismic Testing in Marietta, OH Called Off

After much discussion and reconsideration, there will be no seismic testing inside the city limits of Marietta, Ohio, according to city officials. Precision Geophysical was set to test in early July, but that’s now off. However, Geophysical will test around the city in other Washington County locations, and they will set up listening devices in the city to try and capture whatever data they can for lies below the city and just outside of the city.

The details for how and why Marietta testing is now off, and where seismic testing will take place in Washington County in the near future:
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Westminster College Takes a Pass on Seismic Survey & Drilling

Seismic surveying is coming to New Wilmington (Lawrence County), PA—and when surveys come, it’s usually not too long until permits and then drilling follow. Which is great news for local landowners.

However, the largest landowner in town, Westminster College, has sadly decided to disqualify themselves from the survey and from realizing the benefits of fracking. Westminster won’t allow seismic surveying and is bogged down in the “study it to death” routine being pushed by anti-drillers when it comes to potential drilling under college land:

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