County gets $190,000 to repair Carmel Church Road

Published 12:04am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NATCHEZ — An oil company that damaged a Kingston-area road during oil exploration last year has paid Adams County the money needed to repair the road.

Mississippi Onshore attempted to tap into the Austin Chalk formation off Carmel Church Road using a type of horizontal drilling that required a much larger drilling rig than is typically used in the area.

After several months of unsuccessful development of the well, the company pulled out in August, said Woody Allen of Allen Petroleum Services, who worked on the project.

The lingering impact of the project on the area, however, has been the structural damage to Carmel Church Road, which was not up to specifications to handle the heavy oil equipment and is in significantly worse condition than it was at this time last year.

Last week, the Adams County Board of Supervisors agreed to accept a $190,000 payment from Mississippi Onshore for the repair of the road.

“The road has been just absolutely demolished,” Adams County Supervisor David Carter said. “It is going to require some base work, some patching and some surfacing to get it back to pre-drilling standards.

“A lot of our rural roads aren’t designed for heavy oil traffic, and we are looking at putting something in place where if someone goes on these rural roads, they put some kind of bond in place in case of damage.”

Carter said the county road department received three bids for the repair, and the offer fell within the range of those bids.

Work to make the repairs will start soon, Carter said, but a start date has not been set to his knowledge.

“I know the people on that road are looking forward to getting it fixed,” he said.

Carter said that while the road issue needed to be addressed, the supervisors view oil development in Adams County as a good thing.

“We look forward to more work and hopefully more successful drilling next time,” he said.

Allen said the company offered the money to the county voluntarily.

“They recognized going in that the road was not up to the conditions to be able to handle those heavy rigs, and they were waiting until after they had finished the work to fix it,” he said.

While the well work was active, the company had a monthly fee set up with the county to patch the road as needed, Allen said, an arrangement he helped reach.

“I called the county and asked for a meeting to discuss the road,” he said. “In my own riding out there, I realized the operations were detrimental to the condition of the road and they needed to do something.”

Allen said there are no plans at present to further explore the chalk formation’s potential in the area.

“The group is evaluating what happened with the wells and what can alleviate (those problems) going forward,” he said.