Morrow County will be joining a number of other counties in Ohio to experience shale drilling known as High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing or “fracking.”
EOR Technology LLC of Houston, Texas was issued the first Morrow County permit mid August to drill a horizontal well at the Morton #1 well in Denmark, Canaan Township on Township Road 133 between Township Road 130 and County Road 28. The permit lists a drilling depth of 3200 feet.
Fracking is a process for extracting natural gas by drilling several thousand feet down and turning sideways (horizontally), drilling up to one to two miles long, Then millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and 80 to 300 tons of chemicals are injected deep into the ground. The pressure induced by this process causes the shale and other rock to fracture, releasing the gas. The water is then extracted, leaving approximately 70 percent underground, and the natural gas is brought to the surface.
In separate letters dated July 21, 2015, the Morrow County Commissioners and Canaan Township clerk were notified of the application. Neither the County Commissioners nor the Canaan Township Trustees have oversight of the application process. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (ODNR), has complete authority in Ohio over gas and oil operations.
A horizontal well pad is very different than the well pads Morrow County residents are familiar with from the oil drilling of the 1960’s. A typical well pad can cover several acres.
The Canaan Township well is currently under construction. The access road has been installed and trucks can be seen coming and going.
Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial process, with proponents claiming jobs and energy independence while opponents express concerns over water usage, water contamination and the increased truck traffic and road damage in rural areas.
The permit does not disclose the source of the water to be used to fracture the well, however, in a power point presentation shown to commissioner Dick Miller on June 9, 2014, the only commissioner available on that date, from Del-Co Water, lists Hydraulic directional drilling/fracking preparation as one of Del-Co’s efforts.
The debate over fracking shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Before the Ohio House currently is a bill that would require oil and gas producers to submit a list of the chemicals used in their fracking operation. Currently, such information is considered proprietary.
Reach Donna Carver at 419-946-3010, ext. 1804 or on Twitter@MorrCoSentinel.