Helis abandons St. Tammany fracking project

Published: Sep. 20, 2016 at 3:11 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2016 at 4:41 PM CDT
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ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A controversial oil drilling project in St. Tammany Parish has stopped after the company behind the effort suspended the operation, according to a statement from Helis Oil & Gas.

The hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation in St. Tammany Parish was shelved after a review of the project determined it wouldn't make money.

In a prepared statement, the company also said the well will be secured and permanently abandoned.

"Helis has determined that the prospect lacks appropriate commercial viability so the company will not pursue the project any further. Helis intends to permanently abandon the well and secure the site in accordance with regulatory requirements and its leases," said Greg Beuerman, spokesperson for Helis Oil & Gas.

The company has also suspended the air, water quality and noise monitoring instituted prior to beginning work on the site. The results of that monitoring will still be available to the public through the state Office of Conservation.

Helis said if the report had shown a different result, the company would have moved forward toward completion and production later in the Fall of 2016.

When the project was first proposed, the company's own estimates indicated the project had a 30 to 35 percent chance of success.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister thank Helis and said the company accommodated every request the parish made during the process.

"Helis conducted their business at the highest standards," Brister said in a prepared statement.

Brister went on to say that fracking had become an emotional issue in the parish.

"Unfortunately, it cost the taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars in legal bills to confirm that the oil exploration permitting process is, and will continue to be, a State issue," she said.

Brister said groups that want to stop oil exploration in Louisiana need to take their concerns to the state legislature.

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