Whitesville Field (East Resources Inc.)
June 9, 2008
STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF APPLICATION, PUBLIC LEGISLATIVE HEARING
AND ISSUES CONFERENCE
Applicant: EAST RESOURCES, INC., 301 Brush Creek Road, Warrendale, Pennsylvania 15086. Contact: Jared Hall, Operations Manager NY/PA (Telephone: 724-772-8600).
Project Number: DEC Project Number DMN 08-V-04.
Project Description and Location: Applicant proposes to produce oil and associated natural gas from the Fulmer Valley sandstone in the Whitesville Field. The area proposed for drilling is approximately 20,000 acres in size, including approximately 440 acres in the southeast corner of the Town of Willing, Allegany County, 7,880 acres in the southern portion of the Town of Independence, Allegany County, and 11,720 acres in the southwest portion of the Town of West Union, Steuben County.
Wells will be developed on leasehold acreage within 501 spacing units in the Whitesville Field, using a grid pattern of 40-acre spacing units. Wells will be located a minimum of 100 feet from a unit boundary and 350 feet between wells.
In addition, applicant proposes to establish a maximum gas-oil ratio of 165,000 cubic feet of gas for each barrel of oil produced from the Whitesville Field.
A map of the proposed Whitesville Field and potential spacing units may be reviewed at the document repositories indicated below (see Document Availability), and on the Department's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/44266.html.
Permits and Other Departmental Approvals Applied For: Applicant requests a field-wide variance from the Statewide well spacing requirements of 6 NYCRR 553.1, which require that, in the absence of a Department order establishing spacing units, a well cannot be located less than 660 feet from any boundary line of the lease or unit and cannot be closer than 1,320 feet from any other oil or gas well in the same pool. Applicant also requests a change in the gas-oil ratio limit established by 6 NYCRR 556.1(e), which provides that in the event the Department has not established a specific gas-oil ratio limit for a particular oil pool, the limiting gas-oil ratio shall be 2,000 cubic feet of gas for each barrel of oil production. Permits to drill are also required by 6 NYCRR 552.1.
Department Staff Position: In accordance with 6 NYCRR 553.4, the Department may, after a public hearing, grant applicant's request for a variance if the Department determines that the well spacing variance will protect correlative rights and prevent waste of the resource. Pursuant to 6 NYCRR 556.1(g), the Department may, after a public hearing, change the limiting gas-oil ratio upon a showing by the applicant that the proposed gas-oil ratio will prevent waste of the resource.
Pursuant to the final order issued in this proceeding, the Department will apply the variance and gas-oil ratio limit established in the order to future applications by applicant to drill wells in the Whitesville Field. Permits to drill and the establishment of spacing units in the Field are not the subject of this proceeding. Future applications for permits to drill will be reviewed in subsequent administrative proceedings and issued subject to site specific conditions as warranted.
SEQRA Status: Department staff published a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program ("GEIS") in July 1992. The Department issued a September 1, 1992 Findings Statement pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA") (ECL article 8). The GEIS and findings statement provide a detailed description of well drilling and well spacing and establish the basis for environmental reviews and approvals of Department action subject to the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law. The Division of Mineral Resources, on behalf of the Department as lead agency, has reviewed the variance request and concluded that the proposed action conforms to the standards, criteria and thresholds discussed in the GEIS and findings statement. Accordingly, no further action is required under SEQRA (see 6 NYCRR 617.10[d]).
Public Hearing: A legislative hearing to receive unsworn comments about the proposed project will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 in the small gymnasium, Whitesville Central School, 692 Main Street, Whitesville, NY 14897 (Contact telephone for directions: Vicki Schlierer at 518-641-0504). Written comments may also be submitted to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, at the address below, to be received by close of business on Tuesday, July 8, 2008. All persons, organizations, corporations, or government agencies which may be affected by the project are invited to attend the hearing and to submit oral or written comments. Interpreter services will be made available to deaf persons, at no charge, upon written request to the administrative law judge (ALJ) at least five business days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing location is reasonably accessible to persons with a mobility impairment.
Issues Conference: A pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference will be held in the small gymnasium, Whitesville Central School, 692 Main Street, Whitesville, NY 14897, immediately following the legislative hearing, and will continue on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at 9:00 A.M., as necessary. The purpose of the issues conference is to define, narrow, and resolve, if possible, the proposed issues for adjudication. Any persons requesting party status must appear or be represented at the issues conference in order that all proposed issues may be fully discussed.
Party Status: All persons wishing to participate in the issues conference and at any subsequent adjudicatory hearing must file a written petition requesting party status, pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.5(b) (also see 6 NYCRR 624.4[c]). The petition must fully identify the proposed party together with the name(s) of the person(s) who will act as the proposed party's representative(s), the proposed party's interest in the proceeding, any interest relating to the statutes administered by the Department relevant to the proposed action, whether the request is for full party status or amicus status, and the precise grounds for opposing or supporting the proposed action. Mere opposition to the proposed action is not a sufficient basis to be granted party status. Please see 6 NYCRR 624.4 and 624.5 for further information on party status and identification of issues.
Petitions for full party status must demonstrate that substantive and significant issues exist concerning the proposed action. Please see 6 NYCRR 624.4 and 624.5 for further information about requesting full party status and identifying issues for adjudication.
All petitions requesting full party or amicus status to participate in the issues conference and adjudicatory hearing (if an adjudicatory hearing is deemed necessary) must be received at the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the following address no later than 4:00 PM on Tuesday, July 8, 2008. Telefaxed or emailed copies will be accepted, provided a hard copy is sent by first class mail and postmarked no later than July 8, 2008. Petitions must be submitted to: James T. McClymonds, Chief Administrative Law Judge, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1550 (Telephone: 518-402-9003).
All persons filing petitions for party status must also send a copy of their petition at the same time and in the same manner to: Jennifer Hairie, Esq., Associate Attorney, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of the General Counsel, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1500 (Telephone: 518-402-9507); and to applicant's representative, Thomas S. West, Esq., The West Firm PLLC, 677 Broadway, 8th Floor, Albany, New York 12207-2990 (Telephone: 518-514-1193).
Document Availability: All filed documents (including the permit application, variance request and draft order) are available for inspection during normal business hours at the Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, 1st Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1550 (Telephone: 518-402-9003, Attn: James T. McClymonds, Chief Administrative Law Judge); at the Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Mineral Resources, 625 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Albany, New York 12233-6500 (518-402-8056 -- Contact Person: Thomas E. Noll); at the Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Mineral Resources' Region 8 office, 6274 East Avon-Lima Road, Avon, New York 14414 (585-226-2466 -- Contact Person: Linda Collart); Division of Mineral Resources' Region 9 office, 182 East Union Street, Allegany, New York 14706 (716-372-0645 -- Contact Person: Chris Miller); Town of Independence Supervisor's office, Town Hall, 887 Marietta Avenue, Whitesville, NY, 14897 (607- 356-3608 -- Contact Nancy Sutley); Town of Willing Supervisor's office, 1431 State Route 19 South, Wellsville, NY, 14895 (585- 593-3210 -- Contact Carla Roeski) and Town of West Union Supervisor's office, 2792 State Route 248, Rexville, NY, 14877 (607-225-4429 -- Contact Bruce Thomson). A copy of the permit hearing regulations (6 NYCRR part 624) may be obtained from the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the address above, or online at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6234.html.
Statutory and Regulatory Provisions: The applications were filed and are being processed pursuant to ECL article 1 (General Provisions); article 3, title 3 (General Functions); article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review); article 23 (Mineral Resources); and 6 NYCRR parts 550-553 (Mineral Resources);part 617 (State Environmental Quality Review); and part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures).
James T. McClymonds
Chief Administrative Law Judge
Albany, New York
June 9, 2008