As a major natural gas company prepares to drill in Oregon Township, a couple more blips have appeared on the radar in Wayne County.


As a major natural gas company prepares to drill in Oregon Township, a couple more blips have appeared on the radar in Wayne County.
Although drilling activity here has been scant with only one natural gas well partially drilled in Clinton Township, along with recent activity at the Oregon Township site by Chesapeake Appalachia, two more drill permit applications are now being reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The DEP, which regulates the industry, received an application for a drill permit on May 15 for a site in Preston Township.
Pennswood Oil & Gas LLC, a limited liability company registered to one company officer, applied for the permit, which is under review by the DEP, according to that agency’s records and the Pennsylvania Department of State.
And on April 14, the DEP issued a drill permit for a different drill site in Preston Township.
This permit is also not registered to a known natural gas extraction company, but a northern Wayne County property owner, according to county property and DEP records.

DRBC

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which regulates water quality in the basin, of which Wayne County is mostly a part of, is currently reviewing three permit applications, according to its most recent records.
A natural gas extraction company cannot drill or operate a gas well without receiving a DRBC permit, if the company is targeting a shale formation including the much heralded Marcellus Shale. The Oregon Township site does not need DRBC approval, since Chesapeake Appalachia appears to be drilling into a sandstone formation called the Oriskany.
“It’s a formation that can trap natural gas,” said Dave Messersmith, with the Wayne County Penn State extension office. “It’s (the Oriskany) thought to underlie the entire county.”
Stone Energy Corp, of Louisiana, is seeking a DRBC permit for its existing, vertically drilled well in Clinton Township, known as Matoushek #1.
The DRBC halted work at that site last year, after the commission informed the company that it needed a DRBC permit, in conjunction with the DEP permit it had already received.
Stone Energy Corp’s permit application, which was later submitted in February, says that the well will be hydraulically fractured - a process that busts open shale (rock) formations, located thousands of feet beneath the county, to release natural gas.
The company will target the Marcellus Shale, requiring water gathered from the West Branch of the Lackawaxen River in Mount Pleasant Township.
Water, along with the usage of chemicals, cracks the shale to release the energy deposit.
As part of a different DRBC permit application related to this, Stone Energy Corp is asking for up to 21 million gallons of water, over a 30 day period, from the river.
This water will support the Matoushek #1 well operation and “proposed natural gas wells located in Preston and Mount Pleasant Townships,” according to DRBC records.
Chesapeake Appalachia, of West Virginia, is also asking for a water withdrawal permit of up to 29.9 million gallons, over a 30 day period, from the East Branch of the Delaware River at Hancock, New York.
This “is not a relatively large water withdrawal for the basin,” wrote DRBC spokesperson Clarke Rupert in an e-mail.
The water will be used for the “applicant’s exploration and development of natural gas wells” in New York and Pennsylvania.
It is unknown at this time whether the two Preston Township sites will need DRBC approval.