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Friday, March 21, 2014

Hearing On Forced Pooling For Gas Wells is Postponed By Hillcorp & DEP

DEP Announces Hearing on Application for Gas Well Spacing Units is Postponed

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it, along with Hilcorp Energy Co., requested a delay in the hearing process on Hilcorp’s Application for Gas Well Spacing Units, or spacing order, in order to provide more complete notice to potentially affected people.

The assigned hearing officer accepted this joint request, delaying the hearing process until further notice.

“DEP has made it clear that we intend to properly inform the public of the hearing process in order to garner necessary public input on this this important matter,” DEP Deputy Secretary Scott Perry said.

“As soon as we discovered that some of the residents within the proposed spacing units had not been identified by Hilcorp in its application, we began pursuing a delay to ensure that all potentially impacted residents would have ample time to be informed and prepared for the hearing. Hilcorp agreed to request a delay so that we could provide notice that goes above and beyond what the law requires.”

DEP recently discovered that certain property owners within the area of the requested order were not included in the application materials submitted to the department. While Hilcorp identified over 200 of the property owners in the area subject to the requested order in its application materials, the company did not provide information for those property owners who have not entered lease agreements or for the other operator that has property interests in the area subject to the requested order.

“It has been our position that all potentially impacted homeowners and other operators deserve to receive personal notification well in advance of the hearing proceedings,” Perry said. “Postponing the hearing ensures that all property owners, operators and interested persons will be given proper notice.”

Based on a list provided by Hilcorp, DEP sent two rounds of letters detailing the hearing process to more than 200 property owners in the area covered by the application. When DEP learned that certain property owners and operators had not been previously identified or provided notice, DEP immediately mailed them notice.

The dates, times and locations of the postponed hearing sessions will be determined at a later date. A public notice about the postponed hearings has been submitted to local newspapers. DEP will be directly notifying all royalty owners and operators within the area subject to the requested order and submitting a revised public notice when the hearing sessions have been rescheduled.

Hilcorp Energy Co. is applying for a well spacing order that establishes four gas well drilling units on 3,267 acres to drill into the Utica Shale Formation in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County and Shenango Township, Mercer County.

Under the Oil and Gas Conservation Law of 1961, when a spacing order application is submitted, an administrative hearing must be held prior to entering an order establishing well spacing and drilling units.

Pennsylvanians looking for more information should call 717-772-2199.

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