Gas Companies Push On During Hunting Season
By Rick Hiduk
While operations related to gas drilling in the Marcellus shale certainly impact the routines of deer hunters, as well as the habitat of the animals, representatives from several of the larger companies working in the area report that it’s business as usual at their rigs from the first day of antlerless deer hunting.
Due largely to the fact that drilling, fracking, and completing wells is a process that gas companies would prefer not to interrupt, servicing sites with fresh water and other supplies also continues unfettered, despite the fact that thousands of hunters descend on the area and have to share the same narrow dirt roads and diminished habitat.
“Operations continue normally during hunting season,” stated Brian Grove, senior director of corporate development for Chesapeake Energy, which maintains hundreds of active sites in Bradford County alone. “Our drilling sites are well-marked, occupied by a 130-foot rig, and have activity around the clock.”
The manager of Citrus’ gas drilling operations in Meshoppen and Washington Townships in Wyoming County, who asked not to be identified, agreed. The company does not post “no hunting” signs as the rigs are on private land, for which the individual landowners are responsible.
“Talisman Energy will be operating as normal in the Pennsylvania area on Monday,” Michelle Schweiger, Talisman’s director of stakeholder relations, reported prior to the start of the season. “We do bring safety awareness to our employees that operate out in the field in regards to hunting season.”
“The majority of our guys are hunters, so they are very aware of what’s going on,” the Citrus manager concurred. “They draw straws to see who can take off to go hunting.”
Not all of the work is confined to the respective gas pads, of course. In Meshoppen Township, the installation of a gathering line for Citrus has dragged on for a month due to the discovery that its path along Stanek Road takes it through massive deposits of bedrock. A foreman for the subcontractors laying the pipe related that the crew has been astonished by the number of deer in the area, including a large buck that came off the road bank opposite the eight-foot-wide, eight-foot-deep ditch and leaped over the men welding pipes below.