|WELL, IT NEVER HAPPENED, BUT THE NATURAL GAS IS STILL UNDER THE CALHOUN HILLS|
By Bob Weaver
A deep well drilling boom is on the horizon for Calhoun County. The gas wells promise to
change to nature of the counties economy, and not any too soon.
Fifty-three deep well permits are on file in the Calhoun County
Assessor's office, according to Deputy Assessor Michelle Sears. "You don't have 53 wells permitted based on speculation,"
according to a local producer, "Something is going to happen."
Not one well has yet been drilled, although two sites have
been prepared in the White Pine area through a joint venture involving Gilmer businessman Ike
Morris and the Cabot Corporation. The wait may be due to a deep well rig not being
Some back-seat oil and gas watchers say over a million dollars has been spent on
researching the county for deep drilling, with most of the permits indicating depths over 20,000 feet. Recently, geo-surveying has
been done from aircraft, in addition to the "ground-thumpers" attached to miles of cords seen along
virtually every road in the county these past two years.
More recently, leases are being researched about building new transmission lines across
local properties. There are few large diameter, high pressure lines capable of transporting
deep well gas out of Calhoun or the region.This week Columbia Transmission announced the construction of a new 30"
high-pressure transport line from Clay County to North Carolina. Sources said it could handle the production
of 100 deep wells.
Flocks of researchers are in the records vault at the County Clerk's office every day,
sometimes elbowing for working space. County Clerk Richard Kirby says "It has become
more intense lately. It's been hard to find space to place a book." Kirby says several
different companies have been doing research for at least two years, and there are some
County officials and citizens are anxiously awaiting the results. Revenue generated from a
deep well could provide needed money for county coffer's to pay for existing services. "A real
deep well boom could mean money to help the county in many different ways," said a local
official.Funds could become available for needed services, projects and other economic development.
Some holders of royalty in the region are being "blocked out" by the permit process, which
currently requires the wells to be 3000 feet apart. Those holders may have some legal recourse
to protect their rights, some of which is being heard in the court system.There are
already some decisions to protect holders from "slant" or horizontal drilling, which augers
into the property of adjacent royalty holders.
Oil and gas businessman Alvin Engleke, told The Hur Herald many of the new leases being
signed in Calhoun and the area do not have free gas rights. "Royalty holders need to proceed
with extreme caution before signing with these companies," he said.
While Columbia Energy, drillers of most of the Roane County wells, has said they are not
venturing into Calhoun, they continue to acquire numerous leases in the county. Engleke reported in his Creston News
column some time back the "Columbia well on Orchard Run was a dry hole before it was
drilled," suggesting market manipulation by the company.
Recent deep wells that have received permits:
MARY HAYS (April 5, 2001) about 500 acres on Anthony Run, Lee District; surface owner
Costal Lumber, royalty owner Jeanne Pollack heirs; well operator East Resources, Inc.,
Vienna, West Virginia, designated agent Michael McKown, Vienna, West Virginia.
GRANT ROBERTS (April 26, 2001) about 124 acres on Pine Creek, Center District; surface
owner John Charonko, royalty owner Barbara Hathaway; well operator East Resources, Inc.
Vienna, West Virginia, designated agent Mike McKown, Vienna, West Virginia.
OFFUTT, BURROWS, MARTIN (May 16, 2001) about 61 acres on Sinking Springs, Lee
District; surface owner Jerry Ulderich, royalty owner Steve Satterfield; well operator
Ardent Resources, Pittsburgh, designated agent Morgan Haymond, Elkins, West
MORGAN (May 25, 2001) about 150 acres on the West Fork of the LK River, Lee District;
surface owner Mitchell Morgan, Royalty owner Mitchell Morgan; well operator Ardent
Resources, Pittsburgh, designated agent Morgan Haymond, Pittsburgh.
A. L. & CASSIE GUM (April 10, 2001) about 90 acres on Mudlick Run, Sherman District;
surface owner Murl Siers, royalty owner Murl Siers; well operator East Resources, Vienna,
West Virginia, designated agent Mike McKown, Vienna, West Virginia.
S. A. HAYS (April 5, 2001) about 300 acres on McCune Run, Lee District; surface owner
John and Neil Stump, royalty owner Bernard Hays heirs; well operator, East Resources,
Vienna, West Virginia, designated agent, Mike McKown, Vienna, West Virginia.
C. A. VANDEVENDER (April 13, 2001) about 190 acres on a tributary of Phillips Run, Center
District; surface owner Annabell Whited, royalty owner John H. Withers; well operator East
Resources, Vienna, West Virginia. designated agent, Mike McKown, Vienna, West
BELL, FORD, STUMP, MC CARTNEY, SMITH (March 28, 2001) about 100 acres near Phillip's
Run, Center District; surface owner, James A. Bell, royalty owner L. T. Stump heirs; well
operator Dominion Exploration, Jane Lew, designated agent Rodney J. Biggs, Jane Lew.
List of some earlier wells that have been permitted:
ALVIN ENGLEKE (7/7/2000) Royalty rights to 56 acres in Lee District, Beech
Fork; well operator, David and Garnet Barr.
J. J. STARCHER HEIRS (9/29/2000) Royalty rights to 25 acres in Lee District,
Daniels Run; well operator, Ardent Resources.
IMOGENE HAYMAKER/OTHERS (9/29/2000) Royalty rights to 84 acres in
Lee District, Arnoldsburg area; well operator, Ardent Resources.
BERNARD HAYS GROUP (9/5/2000) Royalty rights to 398 acres (surface John
S. Stump) in Lee District, Arnoldsburg; well operator, McIntosh Partners.
MORRIS OIL AND GAS (9/11/2000) Royalty rights to 58 acres (surface
Roberto Lupez) in Sherman District; well operator Ardent Resources.
CAROLYN DOELLING (9/25/00) Royalty rights to 32 acres (surface Rickey
Sampson) Sherman District; well operator Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
MARY A. WALLEYE (9/25/00) Royalty rights to 50 acres (surface Ralph
Cunningham); well operator, Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
DENZIL G. WARD (9/19/2000) Royalty rights to 88 acres on Laurel, Sherman
District; well operator, Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
MICHAEL WHIPKEY (9/22/2000) Royalty rights on 32 acres (surface Craig
Church) Tributary of Laurel, Sherman District; well operator Trio Petroleum,
W. BARL JOHNSON (8/24/2000) Royalty on 84 acres (surface James Morris) in
Sherman District; well operator, Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
CABOT OIL AND GAS (8/30/2000) Royalty on 249 acres (surface R. J. M.
Trust, Richard Morris) Sherman District; well operator Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
CABOT OIL AND GAS (8/26/2000) Royalty on 249 acres (surface Eva Marie
Ball) in Sherman District; well operator Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
FRED WEBB (9/25/2000) Royalty on 78 acres (surface Orville Ray Yoak) in
Sherman; well operator Trio Petroleum, Glenville.
IMOGENE HAYMAKER AND OTHERS (9/6/2000) Royalty on 235 acres in
Lee District, Arnoldsburg; well operator McIntosh Partners.
WALTER E. SMITH (9/22/2000) Royalty on 25 acres in Sherman District; well
operator Walter E. Smith.
MARIE BALL/BETHLEHEM BAPTIST CHURCH (8/30/00) Royalty on 101
acres (surface John Ball) on Bull River/Sherman District; well operator, Ardent
GEORGE JOHNSON (8/31/2000) Royalty on 101 acres on Bull River/Sherman
District (surface H & R Pipeline); well operator, Ardent Resources.
LOVIE LAUGHLIN (8/21/2000) Royalty on 85 acres (surface Lee McKown)
Tributary of Road Road, Lee District.
R. PLANT HEIRS (9/6/2000) Royalty on 53 acres (surface Jim Morris) in
Sherman District; well operator Creston Oil Company.
GORDON/EVADEEN KESLER (8/17/2000) Royalty on 40 acres on Big Run,
Sherman District; well operator Trio Petroleum.
LEWIS SMITH HEIRS (7/14/2000) Royalty on 49 acres on Road Run of Beech
Fork (Thomas McLaughlin surface); well operator Ardent Resources.
LYNN GILBERT (5/9/2000) Royalty on 42 acres on Sauls Run of Road Road;
well operator Columbia Natural Resources.