Appalachian Basin

The New York Natural Gas Tour Includes Oxford

Yesterday town board members and residents from New York’s Village of Oxford (Chenango County), Bristol (Ontario County), and Tully (Onondaga County) came to Pennsylvania where they had the opportunity to visit some of Cabot Oil and Gas’s operations.  The original plan was to leave Cabot’s office at 10:00 a.m. and be back by 12:30 p.m., however, the tour lasted until 3:oo p.m. due to the amount of questions asked by the visiting town board members.  It was great to see these board members engaged and interested in the facts about natural gas development.  By the end of the tour one board member was already asking about the process to take once they approved natural gas development in their town.  As time consuming as it was for this group to get down to Pennsylvania, it showed that they are taking this decision seriously.

From Beginning to End

Drilling Rig

drilling rig

The first stop on the tour was a drilling rig.  It was here that many of the myths, lies and half truths were put to rest as the group got to see first hand the safety and environmental precautions taken during operations.  The first thing our guide Bill desRosiers asked the attendees was the following.

How many wells do you think we passed on route 29 to get here?

The group shouted single digit numbers and one went as high as 10, but the answer, in fact, was 60 wells.  Hearing this statistic was eye opening for the tour attendees as they were able to see how hidden and non-disruptive these wells actually are.

Walking Tour

Tour getting the facts on development

The next stop on the tour was Cabot’s Comtech facility where they recycle 100% of the flowback water during the hydraulic fracturing process.  During hydraulic fracturing 20-30% of the water used will flow back through the well and to the surface where it is collected.  It is then brought to Comtech where it is then treated and reused at another fracturing job.  This flowback water recycling is just one step in Cabot’s closed-loop system. You can hear an explanation of this process in the following video.

The board members seemed to have no idea that it was possible to treat the water as a few of them asked about open pits which are no longer used.


Comtech facility

The final stop on the tour was a completed well site.  It was here that the tour members had the opportunity to see how natural gas development can exist in the environment without sacrificing Pennsylvania’s beauty.  While at the completed well, the tour was very surprised at how quite and well-preserved the site was.  One interesting point during the tour was when one of the board members asked if compressor station were loud and emitted air pollution.  He was surprised when our guide from Cabot explained that he had passed one twice right on Route 29. After the tour our guide provided the following statement for use in this blog:

Developing natural gas from Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania has shown, without a doubt, that energy independence for the United States is a close reality. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation believes in this energy revolution and is proud to educate anyone interested in learning. The recent tour of officials from various municipalities in New York was a welcomed opportunity to discuss economic growth, creation of quality jobs, and just how productive the Marcellus Shale really is. During this tour, participants raised questions about drilling, hydraulic fracturing, the environment, roads, etc… What impressed me the most about this group was its desire to put the “he said, she said” banter aside in order to see firsthand what natural gas drilling and production looks like. If you have questions about natural gas development please visit to submit a question. This interactive community blog is full of educational material and information about Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation’s Marcellus Shale activities.

Bill desRosiers
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation
External Affairs Coordinator

Oxford Takes This Information Back to their Constituents…Kind of.

Following the tour, the Village of Oxford board held their monthly meeting to discuss  a moratorium on natural gas development that is being considered by the village.  In the following video, resident Denise LaTourette, who attended the tour and has been active in her village’s meetings on this potential moratorium, urged others to make the same journey. She described the tour as being very informative and a necessary step before any municipality makes a decision against natural gas development.

The man in the video was also part of the tour; however, it was interesting to see him dodge the question of what he learned, especially since he was the man who asked about the compressor station.  It is my hope that after being on the tour, seeing the process first hand, and getting all his questions answered that he will have the courage to talk about what he saw and help inform his constituents of what he learned.

Further, though, he’s right. You can’t become a natural gas expert overnight. This is why the decision of whether or not to allow natural gas development should be left up to the experts–the DEC through the regulations they have spent four years drafting after careful studies, observations and knowledge from their long history of regulating natural gas in New York–rather than individual municipalities. His non-answer really summarized exactly why the state has always superseded local municipalities, and we hope he’ll continue with this same logic when the time comes to vote on this piece of legislation.

Rachael will be covering the Village of Oxford Planning Board meeting tonight so stay tuned for more information on this developing situation. And as always, for anyone interested in getting the facts on natural gas development and seeing the process first hand, please feel free to contact us.

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