Oil, Gas Mapping Draws Residents’ Attention

Morgantown Dominion Post
17 February 2011
By Alex Lang

Residents have noticed large trucks and closed roads for several days now.

Men in fluorescent gear are laying what appears to be wires along the berm of roads in Monongalia and Marion counties, as flagmen direct traffic around the crews.

Those crews work for Geokinetics Inc. and they are doing seismic testing for oil and gas, said Peter Duncan, a project manager for the Houston-based company.

“It’s really quite innocuous,” he said.

The wires send energy waves through layers of earth to determine if oil and gas are below, Duncan said. The information is provided to Geokinetics’ clients.

Such testing is done throughout the country, Duncan said, and his company has been in West Virginia for about two years.

There is no danger to people or homes, he said. The company monitors the waves put out during the testing.

Duncan said the mapping is done from the roads, but it requires them to close one lane for a while.

The company is required to get a permit to close part of the road from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Duncan said. The DOT must be told where the crews will work each day. The permit also limits when they can work, for example they can’t work on WVU football game days.

The company also doesn’t test during inclement weather, Duncan said.

DOT spokesman Brent Walker didn’t have a copy of the Geokinetics permit, but said it isn’t uncommon for the department to issue permits. If a group, such as surveyors, presents a plan, it can get a permit to close a portion of road.

The permit grants permission to close the road, but the reason why is included in the application, Walker said.