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EQT Production Co. seeks more gas wells in Forward Township

| Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 2:56 a.m.

EQT Production Co. confirmed on Thursday that it seeks to drill more gas wells in Forward Township.

EQT already has permits for 10 wells drilled since 2010 near Saddler's Hollow and Pangburn Hollow roads, though a company spokeswoman said only eight are in operation, three on its Oliver West tract and five on Oliver East.

EQT media relations manager Linda Robertson said in an email that the company seeks to drill nine more wells.

“We have received nine permit applications for Oliver West,” state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said.

Former township supervisor Tom Headley said at this week's board of supervisors meeting that seven would tap Marcellus shale, while two would tap the Genesee shale above the Marcellus.

While it seems aimed at doubling production, Robertson said, “We can't speculate since we just don't know until we get in there.”

Four wells would have laterals, or horizontal drilling, toward the Monongahela River including both Genesee operations. Five would have laterals away from the river.

Headley said he was notified by EQT because he has property within 3,000 feet of the drill sites. He said EQT needs DEP's OK and a conditional use permit from the township.

Poister said the DEP process begins with reviewing applications for completeness.

“Once the permits are determined to be complete, the company is notified and DEP begins the technical review, which is the detailed look at the permit request,” Poister said.

According to a DEP inventory of drilling permits, Forward is the only Mon-Yough community where permitted drilling of what are called unconventional or horizontal wells is ongoing.

However, EQT contractor Geokinetics USA Inc. was given permission in July to conduct seismic testing in Beedle Park in Jefferson Hills, with an aim to find shale formations where horizontal drilling may take place.

Other companies have unconventional wells in Fawn, Findlay and Frazier townships in Allegheny County and Rostraver, Penn, Sewickley and other townships in Westmoreland County.

According to the DEP there are permits in many area communities for conventional or vertical wells not aimed at Marcellus or other shales.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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