MOUNT VERNON — Commissioners, engineers and township trustees from Knox and Licking counties were shocked and disappointed to learn two horizontal drilling permits were issued for Knox County wells. Most were working under the assumption that well permits were not issued until road usage agreements were signed.
The group gathered Thursday in the dining room of the Memorial Building to discuss the Roadway Use, Repair and Maintenance Agreement, written by Knox County Engineer Jim Henry, between Knox County (representing Morgan Township trustees) and Devon Engineering. The document outlines travel details and rules and procedures regarding road conditions, repairs and damages incurred to and from a horizontal drilling site located just off Kirkpatrick Road in Morgan Township.
Henry said he has been working with representatives from Devon Energy for a couple of months to develop a bond agreement that holds Devon Energy responsible for damage to the haul route because of oversized loads or excessive use. He said he has been using an agreement template that was developed by members of the county engineer’s association, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and representatives from Chesapeake Energy.
“The engineer’s association wanted a template so that all counties can start with the same document,” Henry said. Modifications can, and should be made, he said, because every well will have different circumstances.
The agreement will require a bond set at $200,000 per mile on the hauling route and at least $250,000 per bridge. Henry said the Kirkpatrick Road bridge, because it is longer than most other county bridges, would require a bond of about $450,000. The bridge is maintained in partnership between Knox and Licking counties.
The original haul route developed by Devon Energy would come right off Ohio 13 onto Kirkpatrick Road (next to South Lawn Cemetery) and onto a right-of-way to the drill site. The current haul route starts just west of Utica on U.S. 62 and travels northwest on Homer Road (1.98 miles), north on Justin Road (0.88 miles), east of Melick Road (0.17 miles), continuing on Kirkpatrick Road (1.15 miles) and ending just west of Kirkpatrick on private property.