UTICA — Trucks roll in and out of Devon Energy Corp.’s well site northwest of the village of Utica as drilling continues on the first Utica shale well in Knox County.
Devon Energy spokesman Chip Minty said the drilling operation is in the “lateral stages,” meaning the horizontal leg is being drilled, and it will be another week to 10 days before the drilling operation is finished. At that time, the drilling rig will be removed and the fracking operation will take place.
After that, the well will enter a “flowback” period in which some of the water and chemicals used in the fracking will come back out of the well, be collected and taken to injection wells for disposal. Devon was one of the pioneers of recycling frack water, but since they do not have another drilling operation nearby, that is not practical in this case.
It will probably be mid-June before the well is completed.
The closest neighbor of the well is Bill Stout, who has a tree farm on the neighboring property. He said Devon has so far been good to deal with, citing their work to build up the township roads the drilling traffic has been using and also asking him whether the noise or light from the 24-hour-a-day drilling operation was causing any problems.
There is a hill between the drill site and Stout’s house and the sound of the drilling operation isn’t noticeable in the house.
“If you’re outside and they drop a pipe, you can hear it, but that’s about it,” he said.
He also said they checked to see if the lights were bothering him at all and when he asked if they could turn them slightly, they did so.
So far, at least, Devon has done what they said they would and have been good neighbors.