By BRENDA J. LINERT
and RON SELAK JR.
LORDSTOWN, Ohio - Lordstown will be the site of another Halcon Resources natural gas well soon if indications the Houston-based company have given Trumbull County are on target.
The Engineer's Office has been told by the company it "would like to commence" pad construction and moving in equipment soon, according to Don Barzak in the office, who is close to finalizing a road maintenance and improvement agreement with Halcon for the route it plans to use to get to what's been called the "Kibler" well on Brunstetter Road S.W.
Although no drilling permit for the property is yet listed in public records released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, truck traffic and workers' travels to the proposed well site have hastened in past weeks, according to neighbors.
Equipment and workers have been setting up deep in the field of a Brunstetter Road dairy farm.
Trumbull County commissioners were set to approve the agreement Jan. 16, Barzak said.
The well is to be located almost a mile east of Highland Avenue on the south side of the road.
The agreement calls for upgrades about 5.6 miles of Hallock Young Road, Highland Avenue and Brunstetter Road. Roadwork won't begin until the weather and temperature are in range with Ohio Department of Transportation standards, which Barzak expects won't happen until April or May.
"There is a good chance the site will be drilled and welled and all of the repair work done after the fact," Barzak said.
Company officials also have indicated plans for a second well in the Lordstown area, this one on Highland Avenue, and seven all together in Trumbull County, including the site in Burghill already seeing work and the Brunstetter Road location, he said.
Property owned by the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County is located about 500 feet from the proposed Brunstetter Road well site.
That has league director Barb Busko keeping her fingers crossed for more than one reason.
Busko acknowledged that the organization's 1.14 acres also has leased its mineral rights to Halcon Resources. On a limited budget, any royalties generated from a nearby well would be welcomed, she said.
"It's all with reservation, because I am very much into the environment, and I am just hoping there is no problem with the water," Busko said.
"We are such a tiny parcel, it's peanuts. But every little bit helps and we never know how this economy is going to last," he said.
Attorney Alan Wenger of Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell, who is representing the Lordstown Regional Landowners Group, is taking the lead on attempts to renegotiate leases for more than 30 Lordstown landowners. Those leases previously held by NCL Appalachian Partners were purchased recently by Halcon.
He said he believes the proposed Lordstown well location was part of the Halcon transaction from NCL, but not included in the group of Lordstown landowners he represents.
A search of Trumbull County Recorder's Office records did not turn up a mineral rights deed for the Brunstetter Road locations, and a working phone number for the property owner could not be located.
Wenger said that he has had no meetings with Halcon, describing the scenario to renegotiate dozens of Lordstown mineral rights leases as "very still." He said he believes the company is considering its local lease options.
"This is a process. It's not something that is necessarily going to bear fruit in a week or two," Wenger said.
"Once the group gets going, I think it will work out. I think the group does have some substance. The group has organized very thoughtfully."
Meanwhile, Kansas-based Lario Oil and Gas company may be a new player in the local drilling picture.
Trumbull County mineral rights deeds show that Lario has leased mineral rights on hundreds of acres all in Newton Township since September.
Several messages left seeking comment from Lario official Mike O'Shaughnessy were not returned, but the company's website indicates it has leased 25,000 net acres in "select counties" of eastern Ohio's Utica Shale region and says the company expects to drill a "science well" by second quarter of 2013 with horizontal wells to follow.
It does not specify where those wells will be located.