ShareThis Page

Monroeville company starting work on first Plum fracking project

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 5:30 p.m.

Construction of the well pad at oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley's first Marcellus shale drilling project in Plum will start next month.

The Monroeville company in September received the state Department of Environmental Protection permit allowing it to begin work at the project called "Midas" on 92 acres at 191 Coxcomb Hill Road, Huntley & Huntley Vice President Paul Burke said.

Drilling is scheduled to start in February and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is expected to begin at the site in April, according to company spokesman Ed Valentas. Fracking is a process of extracting gas by injecting rock with high-pressure water, sand and chemicals.

The company is considering development of wells at several locations in Plum.

"But it's pure speculation right now. We could change locations (being looked at) and there are no permit applications other than Midas," Burke said.

Valentas gave a presentation to Plum Chamber of Commerce members Wednesday to dispel fears about the controversial drilling method. About 15 business leaders attended. The program featured a short video explaining the process of horizontal drilling, which includes fracking.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of scare tactics by opponents who don't want any fossil fuels used," Valentas said at the presentation.

Burke said Huntley & Huntley started as a geological consulting firm in 1912. Starting in 1990, the company began exploration and production and has since drilled around 400 conventional wells in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The company started drilling jointly with Texas-based Range Resources for Marcellus shale in 2009 with its Yutes well in Frazer near the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. Since then, the company has been involved in 73 horizontal drill operations.

Doug Shields, Western Pennsylvania Outreach Liaison for environmental advocacy group, Food and Water Watch, said other communities should take Huntley & Huntley's plans in Plum as a fair warning that drilling could happen anywhere.

"Those that think, 'they're not coming here because our population's too large,' should note that is not the case. Certainly not in Plum," said Shields, who was not at the company's presentation. "Every local official is duty-bound to recognize this activity is not going away and they need to update their laws to make sure they're protecting their community."

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

Huntley & Huntley's Ed Valentas points to a map that shows the location of the Midas well pad the company is building in Plum during a chamber of commerce meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Huntley & Huntley's Ed Valentas points to a map that shows the location of the Midas well pad the company is building in Plum during a chamber of commerce meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Members of the Plum Chamber of Commerce listen to a presentation by a representative of Monroeville-based oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Members of the Plum Chamber of Commerce listen to a presentation by a representative of Monroeville-based oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.