Gas Drillers Look to Washington (PA)

Washington, PA Observer-Reporter
9 September 2009
By Michael Bradwell, Business Editor

A Texas company will hold a series of public meetings next week with Washington property owners who may hold oil and gas mineral rights to determine whether gas well drilling could occur in the Marcellus Shale deposit within the city limits.

According to a letter from J. Howard Bass & Associates Inc. of Georgetown, Texas, its land department is contacting property owners who may own mineral rights in the city's eight wards to explain the terms of its oil and gas mineral leasing opportunities.

One local property owner who plans to attend will be Mayor Sonny Spossey, who said he received two letters from the company.

"I want to hear what they're going to say," Spossey said Tuesday.

According to Spossey, there are about 6,500 property owners in the city.

"It will be up to each owner to determine whether they're interested," he said.

The unsigned form letter from the company acknowledges that conducting a leasing and drilling project within city limits is difficult. The company will hold four public meetings at the George Washington on South Main Street.

Clayton Stiba of Bass's land department said Tuesday that Bass is an exploration company that forms partnerships with other companies that actually do the drilling of wells if a project develops.

He said that while Bass and a partner were successful in a municipal drilling project in Denton, Texas, in the Fort Worth basin, "there are a lot of restrictions about where you can drill" compared with drilling projects in more rural areas.