Firm Looks to Begin Seismic Testing in Moon
A Texas company could begin the testing in the North Flaughtery Run Road and Spring Run Road Extension area.
A Texas-based firm is requesting to perform seismic testing in a portion of Moon Township.
John Gordon, a project manager for Discovery, said the firm must request permission from property owners in the area before testing can begin. He said Discovery is interested in conducting the testing in an area that spans fewer than two miles.
"The majority of our job is in Beaver County," Gordon said. "There's just a sliver, triangle-wedge-shaped property we're looking at in Moon."
Both Spring Run Road Extension and North Flaugherty Run Road are maintained by Allegheny County.
Gordon said seismic testing provides oil and gas extraction companies with data about the rock formation in a given area, enabling them to better detect where pockets of natural gas might be.
The process does not actually pinpoint the exact location of natural gas.
Crews will drill 30-foot wellbores, about three inches in diameter, into the ground. The "shot holes" contain explosives, which are set off during the testing.
Vibrations spurred from the explosives are read by geophones, a device that converts ground movements into voltage, and converted into a map of the rock formation.
"It's used to create a digital map of the rock layers," Gordon said. "And that's what gas companies use to make the process safer and more effective."
Discovery performs surveys of area homes, establishing a 300-foot buffer zone from homes and water sources, including water wells and streams, and a 150-foot buffer zone from streets and pipelines.
Gordon said permission from private landowners must be obtained before the company moves forward with obtaining necessary permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
He said the process typically takes between six to eight months to obtain the necessary permissions and complete the testing.
Gordon said the project is not tied to a specific drilling project.
"Drilling companies can take this information and use it how they wish," Gordon said. "(The property where the testing could take place) is close to Beaver County, it also almost skims the airport land, so it could be used for drilling in that area."