Conventional Natural Gas Wells Proposed at Capital High School in Charleston, WV

by Duane Nichols on October 11, 2012

Capitol High School Band

The following information comes from the Charleston Daily Mail as published on October 7, 2012:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kanawha County Schools officials say natural gas wells might be drilled on Capital High School property. But, no plans are finalized. They believe it could provide much needed savings and revenue to the school system for years to come. “Any relief to the taxpayers is always welcome,” said board President Pete Thaw.

In February,  Spencer-based Reserve Oil & Gas presented a drilling proposal to the school board. The company is proposing three wells on the Capital High property, said Doug Douglass, its land manager. Spread 1,500 feet apart, two of the wells would be on the land across the street from the high school. The third would be on the same side of the road as the school, in the far southwest corner of the property. He said that would be about a quarter mile from the school building itself.

“We don’t want them anywhere near where kids go,” said county facilities director Chuck Wilson. “We want them far away, and any of the actual drilling to happen when (students are) not in session.” The county owns 176 acres that’s considered part of the Capital High property, Wilson said. Most of the property consists of mountainside adjacent to Coonskin Park property, far from the areas used by students, he said.

Douglas said the crews would not be drilling into Marcellus shale, and his company uses nitrogen fracturing to release the natural gas. “These are vertical wells, no hydraulic fracking,” he said. The wells themselves take up very little space, Douglass said. The pad for each well would be 100 feet by 200 feet, and a parked pick-up truck could block the wellhead from view, he said.

No project can proceed until the county officially solicits bids for drilling. Douglass said his company understands it might not get the contract, but he’s confident they are the right people for the job. “We have an interest in that tract because we’ve drilled 80-plus wells in Kanawha County in the past five years,” he said.

The bid proposal could be ready within the next 10 days. Apart from safety considerations, school officials said savings and revenue are the top priorities for the project. The county could receive a 12.5 percent royalty payment on any of the gas sold from the wells. The company likely would offer a free gas component and discounted prices for any additional gas needs.

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