Board, residents discuss drilling planadmin
ASHVILLE — More than 250 people showed up for a special hearing held by the state Oil and Gas Board on Friday to discuss the development of a big new energy field in St. Clair County.
The crowd packed into the Old Courthouse in Ashville heard plans proposed by natural gas field operator Dominion Resources to expand drilling in the Big Canoe Creek Field, 45 miles northeast of Birmingham, The Birmingham News reported.
The board approved the Virginia-based company’s expansion proposal. Dominion has obtained drilling rights to tens of thousands of acres in the county during the past two years.
“Some people are going around saying this is going to be their retirement,” said landowner Jackie Biddle of other landowners who have sold their mineral rights to Dominion. “To me, that seems a little pie in the sky.”
That there is natural gas near Ashville has been no secret to geologists for years. But Dominion’s increased interest recently has prompted speculation of mineral wealth. Dominion officials were greeted Friday by people holding old mineral-rights contracts and property deeds in hopes that they would be included in the initial development area, the News reported.