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South Buffalo supervisors to consider shale gas well proposal

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Hearing scheduled

The board of supervisors will hold a hearing 7 p.m. Monday in the township building.

The hearing is on a request by XTO Energy for oil/gas exploration, production, drilling and transmission on the Lindsay property, zoned RA-rural. Adjoining property owners will be notified by certified letters. Anyone with questions should call 724-295-0455.

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Friday, March 28, 2014, 1:31 a.m.
 

South Buffalo supervisors will decide next month whether to allow XTO Energy Inc. to drill as many as eight new Marcellus shale gas wells in the township.

The township's planning commission recommended on Thursday that supervisors allow XTO to drill on more than 53 acres owned by Tim Frantz off Furnace Run Road. Township planners put no conditions on the recommendation.

The horizontal gas wells would be drilled about 1,000 feet deep. From there, they would extend across more than 480 acres, according to XTO officials.

Supervisors will vote on XTO's request on April 21.

If supervisors and the state Department of Environmental Protection approve, XTO could begin construction at the site as soon as the summer, according to company officials.

“Right now, our preliminary plans are probably in the June area. The latest I heard is late May to early July,” said Jim Munday, a contractor with XTO.

The drilling itself is expected to begin in November. According to XTO's attorney, Shawn N. Gallagher of Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, the schedule depends on how long it takes to construct the 300-foot by 400-foot well pad.

It's likely that two wells would be drilled first, Gallagher told the planning commission. Up to six more could follow. The number of wells XTO drills would be dependent on the site's productivity, Gallagher said.

The proposed wells would operate 24 hours a day for several weeks. Construction, however, will not happen around the clock, he said.

Gallagher told commissioners that the site would not produce any unusual sounds, lights or vibrations.

He did not know whether fracking and flaring at the site would first happen in the winter or the spring.

Trucks servicing the site will travel from Route 28 to Freeport Road to Sarver Road then to Furnace Run, according to XTO officials.

The township first learned of the project at the beginning of March, according to planning commission member Kay Covone. She described XTO's request as “standard.”

Jim Rowley, with the planning commission, agreed.

“They've got all their bases covered,” he said. “As long as they get all their permits.”

XTO has about four gas wells in the township, Munday said. One has been drilled and fracked. The others are waiting for the pipeline installation.

There are at least 15 active gas wells in the township, according to South Buffalo officials.

Julie E. Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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