Hilcorp drops bid to force drilling

NEW BEDFORD, Pa. – Hilcorp has dropped its bid to force holdout property owners in Pennsylania to accept drilling under their land, saying the company wants to move beyond a protracted fight and begin producing oil and gas.

The Houston-based company had sought to use a 1961 Pennsylvania law to drill under the property of a few holdout landowners in New Bedford north of Pittsburgh. The concept, known as “forced pooling,” means people who don’t sign leases get bundled in with those who do, to make drilling more efficient and compensate all the landowners.

Hilcorp said it will instead drill around landowners who refused to sign leases with the company.

Property owners holding 99 percent of the acreage in the 3,267-acre tract have signed leases, the company said.