Steubenville Kiwanis Club welcomes Hess Corp. representative as speaker

MEETING HIGHLIGHTS — Steubenville Kiwanis Club President Aimee Livingston and George Pugh, right, May program chair, welcomed guest speaker James W. Wilson, Hess Corp. Utica operations area lead, as the guest speaker at the May 8 meeting. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — James W. Wilson, Utica operations area lead for Hess Corp., with a Steubenville presence at 4525 Sunset Blvd., was the May 8 guest speaker at the Steubenville Kiwanis Club’s noon luncheon meeting held at the YWCA of Steubenville.

Wilson, who was introduced by Kiwanian George Pugh, May program chair, is a native of North Dakota who has spent most of his career with a small independent oil company engaged in the drilling of small exploration projects and the acquisition of existing producing properties mostly in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. He has been with Hess Corp. since 2010 and recently transferred to Ohio to manage Ohio operations.

Hess is a Fortune 500 company, Wilson explained, with safety as its No. 1 priority; the environment as No. 2; and production as No. 3.

“In production we make about in the mid 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day throughout the world,” Williams said. “We are an international company. We’ve got significant operations in Ohio, North Dakota’s Bakkem, the Gulf of Mexico and Malaysia and more recently Guyana in South America, which represents a major world class discovery.”

Worldwide, Hess has about 2,075 employees and “lots of contractors.” In Ohio, there are 15 employees, two full-time contractors and other contractors in the field handling maintenance and service work. Of the three engineers, two are regional, he said.

“In Ohio we operate 59 producing wells, and we’re currently fracking five additional wells so that will give us 64 here in the next month or so producing,” he told the club members. “Most of our wells are in Harrison, Belmont and Guernsey County.”

He explained, “The wells here where we’re drilling to is what we call a point pleasant formation which is really just below Utica shale. It’s the rock that the oil and gas comes from, and it’s also in the point pleasant formation, and we drill down about 7,800 feet vertically.” From there it’s horizontal.

He said 10,000 feet was the target during the last drilling in 2015. “When we start drilling again hopefully in mid-2019 I expect we’ll be drilling to 15,000 feet laterally at least so that’s 3 miles horizontally. That’s a pretty big job to get that job done right and safely,” Wilson said.

“The way these wells frack, everyone gets the idea of that frack is horizontally. Our fracking is really vertical, which is good because it gives us depth and height to get in the Utica shale, which is about 125 feet thick.”

He said it takes a lot of energy and a lot of sand pumped in with the water. “We’re fracking five wells right now out by Cadiz — and it is going to take us 45 days of 24-hour pumping, so we will use per well around 17 million pounds of sand per well,” he said under questions posed by members.

Fracks done now are called slick water fracks, which he said are almost all water with a minimum amount of chemicals.

“A typical well pad is like five or six wells. It’s 900 acres,” he said. “In the old days when we drilled conventionally we had about a 4-acre pad for every single well. Now we have about a 5-acre pad for 10 wells, so our footprint is very, very different than it was 20 years ago so environmentally that’s been huge. A lot of people don’t realize our footprint has become incredibly reduced.”

Entertaining a question about the impact of fracking on the stability of land, Williams said, “We know oil and gas operations affect the land, there’s no question, and our job is to make sure we look at it with the correct perspective and the right data and make good decisions from the consumer side and for us as a company. We have to make sure we’re not harming or damaging the environment.”

Williams said there are “a lot of good things happening for the market here in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania,” referring to increased pipeline capacity and “big markets now in the United States and especially this area for petrochemicals.”

Hess estimates the life of the area wells to be in the range of 20 years.

Asked what’s different about Jefferson County in that “everybody else is getting all the action and Jefferson County a small portion,” Wilson said, “It really has to do with depth and the quality of the rock.”

In club business, President Aimee Livingston presided, distributing thank-you notes the groups had received for recent donations.

The club will partner again this year with the Rotary Club of Steubenville to hold a fundraiser golf scramble on June 24 at Spring Hills Golf Course in East Springfield.

There will be an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $300 per team or $75 for an individual who would be assigned to a team. Proceeds will benefit local organizations and youth programs.

Teams and hole sponsors are being recruited. Team registrations and sponsorships can be mailed with payment to Rotary Club of Steubenville, P.O Box 1485, Steubenville OH 43952 with “RK Golf” noted in the memo line.

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