WARREN - Workers for Front Runner Seismic have been knocking on doors for at least two months now, with hopes of getting at least 11,000 landowners to allow them to use seismic tests to determine the amount of minerals deep below the earth's surface.
''We are well over 25 percent committed,'' said company president William Dressel, speaking by cell phone from his northern Pennsylvania base.
Dressel's company has set up about two-dozen workers in Hubbard-area apartments and hotels where they will be working for several more months to reach their targeted number of signatures from property owners in a 140 square-mile area mostly in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. Surveying the properties is expected to begin in late winter with testing under way in spring and summer.
''Drilling is going to happen in the area. You want a proper evaluation. Seismic testing is the best way to create a 3D image of the subsurface area,'' Dressel said Tuesday.
The seismic testing process involves burying small explosives in a grid pattern. The points are set off one-by-one, sending sound waves into the ground to create algorithms which then are analyzed by geophysists to determine the amount of natural gases in specific areas.
''We need very little vibration in the ground to get a whole lot of imagery,'' Dressel said. ''There is a vibration. There is some noise, but you have to be close.''
The information is then used by drilling companies like Halcon Resources Corp. to determine the best places to drill. Halcon has hired Front Runner Seismic to do this advance work.
''It's the most environmentally savvy way of conducting this research,'' Dressel said, noting that the data can be good for more than 50 years.
On Monday, another representative of Dressel's company spoke at a public meeting in Austintown Township with the goal of obtaining trustee approval to use township property to conduct tests. Dressel said the company is in the process of contacting many local governmental bodies, including Lordstown and Warren, to get permission to use public thoroughfares and other public property for the tests.
Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill also said he has had conversations with company officials.
''I personally don't have any problem with it,'' Hill said, noting that he has gotten little feedback, good or bad, from residents.
In Austintown, trustees said they plan to speak to officials in other townships before allowing the company to test on township property.