July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Firm tests for oil, gas on state Route 303

BRUNSWICK — A Texas-based company is performing seismic testing on state Route 303 in Medina County to determine whether it would be a suitable area for oil or gas drilling.

Project manager Ben Blalock said Tidelands Geophysical Co. is conducting tests along 700 miles of roadway in Ohio over about five months.

“This is the first step in responsible oil and gas production,” Blalock said.

On-site project manager Mike Martin said his crews should be out of the county by Monday. They began in Lorain County, he said, and moved east and should be into Summit County after the holiday weekend.

Martin said the process involves placing a sensor cable next to a metal plate that vibrates for 10 to 15 seconds. Similar to sonar, the cable detects what is below based on the vibrations through the ground.

The final project, Blalock said, is a two-dimensional image that can show pockets of gas or oil as well as fault lines and other geological traits.

Blalock said the company will turn the results over to its client, likely a private oil company, which will decide what to do with the information.

He said the results likely would never be leaked because the location of oil and gas would be considered a trade secret.

However, he said, the company paying for the survey, which could cost about $5 million, could decide whether Medina County is a good place to drill.

“At this stage, it costs so much money to put a well in, there’s no point drilling one and having it come up dry,” Blalock said.

He added there is speculation Ohio is rich in “wet gas,” a more pure form of gas that is worth more because it doesn’t need to be refined.

Ohio Department of Transportation District 3 spokeswoman Christine Myers said Tidelands applied for permits to do the roadway testing.

The testing, she said, will help determine the impact drilling would have on nearby roadways.

As the company conducts the tests, workers lay down several miles of cable at a time, Blalock said, and the solar-powered cables pose no safety hazard to the public.

“As the crew rolls through, they pick them up once they get about four miles ahead,” he said. “It’s kind of like a big leap frog for 700 miles.”

As far as allowing gas or oil drilling in Brunswick, City Manager Jim Lukas said the city only would have control over the property it owns. If someone would want to allow drilling on his or her land, controlling that would be up to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, he said.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.