Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need oil and gas activity in St. Tammany Parish?
Most people don’t realize that there have already been at least 15 wells drilled within a 15 mile radius of our proposed well site. Oil and gas exploration in St. Tammany Parish has been taking place for many years. Altogether there have been approximately 50 wells drilled in the parish, and a significant number of them through and below the same aquifer. Fracking is also not new to the general area, with other fracking operations safely taking place less than 40 miles away through the same aquifer in neighboring Tangipahoa Parish without incident.
The St. Tammany Parish area may contain large quantities of oil and some natural gas, as it is on what is believed to be the eastern end of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Louisiana is one of America’s leading energy producing states, many St. Tammany Parish residents derive their livelihood from oil and gas, and the state and parish will benefit from new sales, severance, and ad valorem taxes if this project proves to be commercially viable.
What fluids will be used?
Fluids will be 99% fresh water and inert natural (sand) or ceramic proppants. By law, and by Helis's own commitment stated to the residents of St. Tammany, any chemicals used will be properly disclosed with notification made to regulatory and response authorities.
How will waste water be disposed of?
Any waste water or other waste material generated or used on site must be disposed of according to applicable state and federal laws. Helis intends to fully comply with those laws and in fact, will not be disposing of any waste water into berms or pits on the site. All waste water will be transported to a state-certified waste disposal site outside the parish. There will be no pits on the well site, except a lined fresh water pond to contain fresh water from outside sources to be used in the drilling and fracking processes. Helis committed at the beginning of the project not to take water from the aquifer.
What agencies oversee the project and ensure environmental protection?
This project is overseen by a variety of federal and state agencies tasked with permitting the project and supervising the performance of all parties involved and the protection of the environment.
Permits will be obtained through the Louisiana Department of Conservation, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and will be regulated by those agencies and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials of St. Tammany Parish government and School Board have also been invited to provide their input on the project and to advise representatives of Helis Oil & Gas and the various state and federal agencies of any advice or concerns they may have regarding the project.
Isn’t this a wetland?
Our well pad will be placed on less than 10 acres of land in a way that is fully permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
For decades, Helis Oil & Gas has drilled wells in highly sensitive environments, including wetlands. Operating safely and efficiently in these environments is not new to our company or to our contractors.
How much traffic will the project generate and how will you work to control it?
This is an important consideration which we have discussed at length with parish and school board officials. Work site-related traffic will increase at certain times during the project. At other times, traffic will be non-disruptive.
On those occasions that traffic does increase, Highway 1088 near Log Cabin Road will resemble a limited area highway construction project in a finite location for a finite period of time.
As an added measure of safety and reassurance to the public, we will do our very best to limit truck traffic to times when school traffic is at an absolute minimum.
We are also in discussions with land owners regarding the potential staging of trucks off the highway to further lessen concerns about traffic.
Additionally, we have offered to fund additional traffic control personnel, either through the parish Sheriff’s Department, or through the Louisiana State Police, to help regulate any increase in traffic and ensure a maximum degree of public safety.
How much noise will the project generate?
This is a very remote area of the parish. There are no neighborhoods or shopping districts within 2.5 miles and our well site sits more than a mile and a quarter (1.25) from Lakeshore High School. The area is heavy wooded and there will be virtually no off-site noise impact from the project. Sound barriers will be utilized during the drilling and production processes.
Still, we will be providing sample decibel readings to local officials prior to beginning the project so they can gauge any noise levels for themselves.
Won’t our aquifer be at risk?
Tens of thousands of drilling projects undertaken in Louisiana are through an aquifer, many of which provide well water for local communities. Thousands of wells have been drilled through this aquifer in Louisiana and Mississippi. In fact, fracking projects through this same aquifer are already taking place in neighboring Tangipahoa Parish. Helis Oil & Gas has drilled and hydraulically fractured approximately 60 wells in areas and formations similar to St. Tammany Parish.
Our well will be drilled to a depth of approximately 12,000 feet. According to the state of Louisiana Department of Conservation, the local aquifer extends only to 3,000 feet, so our activity will be 9,000 feet below the aquifer, providing a significant safeguard to the aquifer. Moreover, Helis will employ an extra string of casing so that the aquifer will be protected by three concentric strings of casing - one more than the required two strings of casing.