The first Mississippian zone horizontal oil well in our GMD started drilling operations Wednesday in Gove County by Apache Corp. While approved for 6 individual wells on the same drilling pad, the company says it will start with just 1 well to see how the formation looks. No mention of whether or not hydraulic fracturing will take place, but I'm certain that it will based on the water right filed - 4 million gallons of fresh Ogallala groundwater. While the water right information is available for this well, the approved Intent to Drill (ITD) from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is nowhere in sight. Since this is all very new, I'm going to give Apache and the KCC the benefit of the doubt on this oversight - probably just not posted on the KCC website yet. I personally don't think any oil well should be drilled until the ITD and water right information are available to the public.
Incidentally, the second horizontal oil well - also by Apache, Corp. - is also slated to begin soon. I was able to find a copy of this well's ITD but not any paperwork on its water right. In Kansas the ITD's are issued by the KCC while the water rights are issued by the Division of Water Resources (DWR). So, in our first two oil wells, each agency is one for two. Of course, neither well shows up in the national FracFocus.org website - an issue I've discussed before. This is supposed to be the site where fracking information is voluntarily registered - well locations, chemicals used, etc., etc. - but is a year and a half behind in their postings. Supposedly Kansas has made it a requirement that fracking activities get posted here, but I'm not holding my breath. As of this post, there are only 67 wells listed on this site for the entire state of Kansas with only 2 of them located in the NW quadrant of the state that I'm interested in.
My intention is to track these wells and monitor the activities on them. If nobody gets any local groundwater quality samples, maybe this can be a GMD activity - creating a baseline quality data set. If the board wants to do this, we're going to need to know where all the wells are, and start collecting groundwater samples soon. At the very least we can watch the construction of these wells and any subsequent plugging activities. Let's hope all goes well.