Nornew, Inc., a natural gas business with offices at the Eaton Center in Norwich, intends to stay in Chenango County for the long term, company officials say.
While many other gas companies have drilled in the region since the late 1800s, the subsidiary of Norse Energy of Norway has been the predominate player in Chenango County since 1996.
“It was a quiet period for decades here. There wasn’t much out there for a long, long time until Nornew came in,” Vice President of Operations Steven Keyes said.
Newfound methods for extracting the energy source from the promising Marcellus Shale substrata has received the nation’s attention, but there are several layers of subsurface rock here that are being drilled, both horizontally and vertically, for natural gas.
With three rigs constantly in operation, drilling over the past 12 months has been steady. According to Norse Energy’s quarterly report released in August, of the 11 wells Nornew has drilled, all have been successful. The company has applied for 28 permits since the beginning of 2008, with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) approving 12 and still reviewing 16.
Company forecasts are to drill 50 wells this year and 150 in 2009 if market prices remain favorable and state regulations don’t force companies to scale back operations. New York state’s natural gas industry is currently in limbo with new environmental regulations in the works, a moratorium on permits for wells into the Marcellus Shale and a potential ban on drilling below New York City’s drinking water reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains.