Oilfield services firm OGS Resources LLC is looking for permits to drill and frack in the Columbia Basin in southern western Washington state.
The company is seeking a permit for an area west of the city of Spokane.
The state has yet to issue permits for drilling in the area, which has been in the pipeline for years and is the source of a national controversy over fracking.
But OGS says it is ready to start work now because it has already completed drilling in Montana.
“We will have a permit in place for drilling and for drilling,” said David DeGraffenreid, the company’s vice president of government relations.
“We are already working with the Department of Energy to review all of the regulatory requirements.”
DeGraffenriden said OGS is looking to begin drilling early next year, when the water in the basin is low and the oilfield service is likely to be limited.
The Columbia Basin is an area of high oil and gas production in Washington state that has attracted energy companies, including Enbridge, to drill for oil and natural gas.
The area is considered a potential source of energy resources because it sits between the Bakken oil and the Bakkan pipeline.
The pipelines were built by Enbridge and Canadian energy giant Enbridge Energy Corp., and they transport crude oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries on the coast of the U.S. state of Montana.
The Bakken region is the largest shale oil and second-largest natural gas producer in the world, with about 7 billion barrels of oil and about 400 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the ground.
In recent years, Enbridge has begun drilling in parts of the basin, which is rich in methane and natural-gas liquids.
Environmentalists have criticized the practice, saying it is harmful to the environment and has no environmental benefits.
Enbridge says it will use its expertise to protect and enhance the environment in the region.
The OGS-owned drilling site in the lower Columbia River is about 3 miles from the city’s downtown.
DeGraffendreid said OES is working with an oilfield services contractor called M&M Services, which specializes in drilling, and other companies to complete the drilling in time for the company to start operating in the new area.OES is leasing the property, which includes the main road to downtown Spokane, for $1.8 million per year, which would be $200,000 per year for the first year, and $150,000 a year after that.
De Graffenreiden said it will take time to work out the final details of the lease agreement with the city, and it is too early to say how long the drilling would take.
He said it could be up to two years, and he declined to say when the company expects to begin operations.
DeGriffenhid said the company has hired an environmental consultant to evaluate the site and make recommendations for the best way to proceed with the drilling.
He also said ODS will seek approval from the state to begin leasing in the next few months.
“That is the kind of work we’re looking for, and that is what we’re going to do,” he said.