NEW PLYMOUTH — People looking or driving northeast of New Plymouth or east of Payette need not be concerned about fire they are seeing, as the flames are the result of natural gas well testing, the latest step in an effort to start getting production started in Payette County.

Richard Brown, CEO of Snake River Gas and Oil, said the testing will go on for two to three weeks.

Snake River Oil and Gas, in partnership with Alta Mesa Holdings, purchased the assets of Bridge Resources, last year, including 11 wells, seven of which have production capability, Brown said.

Three of the wells are now under intensive testing, which will help company officials understand the size of the reservoir and will be indicative of the production of the other four wells, Brown said.

The companies have approximately 300 to 400 oil and gas leases on about 130,000 acres with a number of landowners, he said. Seismic work was conducted in the area last fall, ending in November, Brown said.

Seismic exploration is the process of using sound waves to determine the geology underground and is non-invasive. No more seismic activity is planned, said John Foster, spokesman for the project.

All the wells in Idaho were drilled conventionally, without hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” according to Foster. The wells are similar to a water well, Foster said, except much deeper and with a lot more cement and steel casing. 

Next steps will include more testing and building a pipeline from the wells to connect with regional pipelines running through the area. That could start as early March or April, Brown said. “We are evaluating routes and costs,” he said.

Larry Meyer is a news reporter at the Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4813 or by emailing larrym@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com

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