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Session planned in Monongahela about oil drilling

| Monday, March 18, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

A public meeting will be held later this month in Monongahela to explain plans for a seismic survey in the city.

The meeting, set for 7 p.m. March 25 at the Monongahela Fire Department, was requested by city council at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday as EQT Corp. and Cougar Land Services discussed survey plans for the city.

“There's a lot of misinformation out there,” said Linda Robertson, spokesperson for EQT.

“So this is a good opportunity to get together, talk about the facts and education people about what we're doing and alleviate the concerns.”

After the meeting, Robertson said, representatives of Cougar Land Services will go door-to-door to meet with city residents about EQT's drilling plans. Cougar Land Services is the permitting agent for EQT.

Those door-to-door meetings will begin after Cougar Land Services receives a soliciting permit from the city.

In those door-to-door meetings, Cougar Land Services will be approaching landowners, seeking permits to access their property for drilling related to seismic testing.

Seismic tests produce 3-D images of the Marcellus shale layers beneath the surface.

Not all city properties would be involved and the drilling would be minimal on properties involved. Owners of those properties permitted for the work would receive a stipend of $5 an acre or a minimum of $25.

The work involved will help EQT determine the most efficient way to develop natural gas reserves using the fewest number of wells.

EQT is at work on a 52-square-mile three-dimensional map of gas deposits in the township and surrounding communities that involves using underground charges set every 220 feet to create seismic waves.

The 52-square-mile project, comprises Forward Township and all or portions of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Township, Clairton, Carroll Township, Monongahela, New Eagle, Union Township, South Park and Jefferson Hills.

Following a public meeting in Forward Township, the company has already received permits for 380 properties in Forward Township.

Councilwoman Claudia Williams encouraged residents to attend the meeting.

“I hope the residents have a better understand of what's going on,” Williams said “It's just a survey.”

Williams said she hasn't had an opportunity to speak with EQT officials to learn if potential drilling could impact city residents.

“If it does, I can only see it is as positive,” Williams said. “A lot of our residents have signed gas leases. This could mean a payment for them.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or