Woman battling explosive problem

BRIDGEPORT — When Sandy Putorek discovered that a Texas company had placed 10 explosive charges on her Belmont County farm without her permission to help develop a map of Utica Shale natural gas assets, she was not pleased.

“How can they get away with this?” she asked. “How can you just put explosives on someone’s property without their permission?”

Even though Putorek said Global Geophysical Services had the explosives removed, she remains in negotiations with the company for its employees allegedly encroaching on her 30 acres of land, just up the hill outside Lansing.

“They want me to sign a gag order, but I am not going to do it. They should not get away with this,” she said.

She and attorney Grace Hoffman are still trying to reach an agreement with Global.

Putorek believes she owns both the mineral rights and surface rights to the land, as she said several natural gas companies have contacted her about signing a lease. Despite the chance to gain thousands of dollars from signing a deal, Putorek said she is not interested in leasing. She also signed no agreement to allow the company to test on her land.

Putorek said she contacted the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio attorney general’s office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local fire department officials to see what could be done when she found the charges Aug. 7.

“Nobody knows what to do about it. It does not seem to be under anyone’s jurisdiction,” she said.

The value of gas throughout eastern Ohio is such that natural gas companies continue signing up landowners for as much as $6,000 per acre, with promised production royalties of as much as 20 percent. Much of the high value for the gas underlying parts of Belmont County is that it contains wet ethane, propane, butane, pentane and oil – in addition to the dry methane gas.

Global officials did not respond to a request for comment, but previously said they are addressing the problem with the appropriate agencies.

“Global is working diligently with all parties involved to come to a satisfactory resolution,” comp any officials stated.