Punching the Clock: Job 'well' done

You might not always be able to see it or hear it. In fact, there’s a good chance you may never even notice it’s going on. But in different parts of Chenango County, the hunt for natural gas has created a flurry of activity in the countryside.

Who’s causing all the ruckus?

The source of it all: Nornew Incorporated, a natural gas exploration company based out of Jamestown.

Nornew expanded its operation into Chenango County roughly three years ago, setting up shop on the first floor of The Eaton Center in Norwich. Since then, they’ve drilled 74 wells in the area, mostly in and around McDonough, Plymouth and Smyrna (along with a cluster near Eaton, in Madison County). Of that 74, about 40 are currently producing gas.

Even still, many local residents aren’t familiar with exploration, said Doug Stebbins, a Field Production Supervisor for Nornew, as we pulled into the first site of the day – a drilling rig in McDonough.

“It’s new to this area,” said Stebbins, who has 26 years experience in the business. “It’s a change. A lot of people haven’t seen it before.”

While it may be somewhat under the radar now, Stebbins says the company “is here to stay,” and as its production increases, so will the visibility of the operation.

“We definitely plan on increasing our well numbers as time goes on,” he said.

Well tending

If business picks up like Nornew expects, its well tenders will be a lot busier.

What is a well tender, you ask?

They mainly make sure the sites are safe and cranking out the optimum amount of gas (I wanted to tell Doug they should just feed the wells Taco Bell, but I figured he wouldn’t think that was funny).

“For a well tender, it’s all about production, production, production,” he said.

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