Gas drilling cash flows into Evans City

November 25, 2013 Cranberry Local News

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EVANS CITY — The revenue stream the borough hoped to see from selling water to shale gas drillers has begun to trickle in.

So far the trickle has added up to about $75,000.

Public works director Norm Nelson said on Monday that water from the borough’s former water plant on Route 528 has been sold to several drillers. Tanker trucks pull up to the plant, fill up, and take the water to drilling sites.

Shale gas drillers use millions of gallons of water to hydrofracture, or “frack,” the shale rock covering natural gas pockets one mile or more underground.

When borough council in February 2012 decided to connect to Pennsylvania American Water instead of using its own plant, it opened the reservoir to drillers.

Nelson said 8 million gallons of water was recently sold to Rex Energy for the fracking of the six wells on a hill behind the former water plant.

“We just finished up last week,” Nelson said. “They got water for two-and-a-half months.”

He said the borough also sold water to a company Rex Energy uses to drill under highways.

Select Energy, a shale gas services company, began drawing tankers of water Monday, Nelson said.

“They get about 80,000 to 100,000 gallons a day,” Nelson said of Select Energy.

He said the borough has been doling out the water using the public works employees on staff.

“So there’s no increased cost to the borough,” Nelson said.

He said workers constantly check the reservoir’s level as they must maintain at least 55,000 gallons of water in it at all times.

The charge to buy water is $7 per 1,000 gallons. Nelson estimates the borough has made about $75,000 so far.

In addition, Evans City received a lump-sum payment of $13,000 in 2008 when a shale gas lease was signed. The borough also received $8,300 for timber removal at the site of the wells, plus $12,250 for land disturbance

“It’s a moneymaking venture for the borough,” Nelson said.

The earnings go into the general fund and will be spent as needed by council.

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