Helis Already Spends a Million Dollars at possible Frack site

Helis Already Spends a Million Dollars at possible Frack site

Now that they've won their Army Corps' permit, Helis Oil has begun installing air and noise monitors near its drilling site north of Mandeville.

The company says drilling should begin in a matter of weeks.

"The school wants to make sure the air is clean, so they see the advantage of getting this done," said Helis oil spokesman Mike Barham, standing next to an air quality monitor at Lakeshore High.

Though drilling hasn't begun, Helis has already committed $1 million to the project.

"This will read for quite a number of chemicals," said air quality manager Doug Herlocker.

Two air quality monitoring stations are now testing for a variety of chemicals that could be emitted from big engines and trucks used in the drilling process.

"Those include oxides of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, metals, and organic compounds," said Herlocker.

One air test site is near the intersection of Highway 1088 and I-12, the other at Lakeshore high school, both nearly two miles away from the proposed drill site.

Aside from air quality monitoring, Helis is also monitoring the water around the drill site, and they promise to do a whole lot more between now, and the commencement of drilling.

"Before we move the drilling rig, we drill nine water wells - three to 200 feet, three to 400 feet and 3 to a thousand feet," said Barham.

Helis is also soliciting help from private landowners in the area to test their wells on a regular basis. They will report those findings to the state, but the exact timetable hasn't been nailed down.

"We're still working out the details of how the office of conservation wants us to give that information out ," said Barham.

Helis hopes to begin drilling in two weeks, and they say that operation will continue for about a month.

And though fracking has been blamed for increased seismic activity in some places, they don't expect problems here.

" None of that is happening in Louisiana our rocks are different than the rocks in Oklahoma," said Barham, and he says the drilling is deeper.

Helis says after their vertical well is drilled, they should know by mid-August whether they will move onto the next step, fracking

Helis says after their initial vertical well is drilled, they will conduct core, and electronic tests to determine if it will be profitable to seek permission to frack, or set off tiny explosives to help release oil under pressure.

If so, they would have to ammend their state permit, and seek another wetlands permit from the Army Corps of Engineers due to the equipment that will be needed on the expanded work site off state highway 1088.

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