Oil company to begin seismic survey through parish soon
A Houma based energy exploration firm will be conducting land surveys in the upcoming months over much of St. Charles parish to determine if untapped sources of natural gas or oil are afoot locally.
Merlin Oil and Gas Inc. will head the survey. Dates have not been finalized yet as the company must seek permission from enough landowners to conduct the seismic testing.
Ian Mcgill, spokesperson for Merlin Oil and Gas, said the company will lay out grid lines on properties in various areas across the parish using dynamite to test the ground in lesser populated areas and a vibra-size truck that uses vibrations from a diesel engine will provide the energy source needed to test for oil and gas in densely populated areas.
“Anywhere we can’t use dynamite we’ll use vibe trucks because they’re a little less intrusive than dynamite,” Mcgill said.
Mcgill presented a plan to the St. Charles Parish School board at the June 4 committee meeting explaining what it was his company was trying to accomplish and what it would require of the school system.
Assistant Superintendent Larry Sesser said they have granted permission for the company to cross 13 different school sites over the course of the 120-150 day project. He said they could have refused the company access to school grounds but that would likely prove futile.
“The board could refuse permission but they [Merlin] could come up right next door to us and do the same thing,” Sesser said.
For any property Merlin requires use of, they pay the landowner $25 per acre, which amounted to around $3,500 for the 141 acres of school land being tested. Sesser said anyone who does not give permission to conduct the survey will have their land passed over, but Mcgill said he is confident they will receive enough permits to conduct the survey, he just isn’t sure of the when they will start.
“We were planning to start as soon as we can but there have been some delays so now the plan is to try and go in September,” Mcgill said.
Regardless of when it starts, Sesser said it’s simply the survey can be chalked up to the price of progress.
“With the value of oil and gas they have to look at every option now,” Sesser said. “The money’s there to make thorough exploration.”
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