MetroParks board discusses drilling rig next to park
By Josh Stipanovich
A drilling rig next to Mill Creek Park can be seen behind a commercial plaza at 1111 Boardman-Canfield Road, and park officials just found out about it Monday afternoon.
Ohio Valley Energy Systems in Austintown, which owns two wells on the site that were drilled between 2000 and 2002 to collect natural gas from one rock formation, are using this rig to collect natural gas from another formation that sits below, said Joshua Threet, geologist at Ohio Valley Energy Systems.
Dennis Miller, Mill Creek MetroParks executive director, and Kevin Smith, MetroParks administrative director, said they found out about the rig Monday and plan to look into it today.
“I wasn’t even aware it was going up until I saw it going up today for the first time,” Miller said.
Smith said the rig isn’t on park property, and that if Ohio Valley Energy Systems drilled onto the property, it would need the park’s board to approve it first.
“We knew nothing about it. We gave no permission whatsoever,” Smith said. “Nothing has been approved by this board or anybody.”
New pipe, Threet said, is being installed from the rig to collect natural gas from the new resource.
“This is a traditional well like the many hundreds drilled in the Valley over the last 50 years and not a lateral Utica shale well,” Threet said. “We are servicing the existing well with the rig and not drilling a new well.”
He added that a permit was not needed because they are installing the pipe into an existing well and that the rig shouldn’t be here much longer.
Most of the company’s equipment consumes a large area of the parking lot near a doctor’s office in the plaza, making it difficult for patrons to park, but Threet said the company is offering a valet service so they can get in and out without much hassle.