Shell Hosts Town Hall Meeting – Local Residents Ask for Fracking Safe

Shell Hosts Town Hall Meeting – Local Residents Ask for Fracking Safe

On February 22, Shell hosted a town hall meeting in Slippery Rock, PA, one of three meetings they plan to do in regards to Marcellus drilling in the upcoming months.

Shell has the rights to drill on 900,000 acres located in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. In July, they purchased East Resources Inc. for $4.7, which allowed them to acquire much of the companies Marcellus Shale rights in the Appalachian region.

Shell has previously drilled in the Haynesville Shale play in Louisiana and the Barnett Shale play in Texas. Their new acquisition will make them a “dominant player” in the Marcellus industry.

The town hall meeting addressed Shell’s intentions towards drilling in the area. “We’re just in the exploration (phase),” said Scott D. Bruner, senior staff production engineer and business integration manager for Shell in Warrendale, Pa. “We’re not sure if there’s anything here yet, which is why the drilling is spread out.”

Shell plans to explore well drilling in four locations in Lawrence County, and three locations in Butler County, including Slippery Rock Township. They plan to test the areas to determine whether there is enough shale in the exploration areas to be profitable. If that is the case, then Bruner adds “…there will be a full-scale operation with pipeline infrastructure with higher level of activity and more well sites.”

Citizens expressed concern for the controversial fracking process, which has been the subject of a 121-page draft by the EPA, released in December, in which a three-year study linked fracking from poorly constructed wells with groundwater contamination in Wyoming.

Bruner says Shell’s Marcellus wells will be encased with four layers of cement and casings to keep gases and fracking fluids from leaking into the groundwater. Well heads will also be properly sealed to reduce leaks. Shell’s initial drilling “into the fresh water zones” is done with air, Bruner added. They plan to pre-test water wells 4,500 feet from new well pads.

Bruner addressed concerns from the community in regards to the fracking process, noting “Protecting and managing water are important issues for both Shell and the community….To be a safety culture first is nothing more important to Shell.”

Drilling is expected to start as early as March and could run as late as September, but most are expected to start in either May or July. “We have 150 wells planned in 2012,” states Bruner.

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