July 25, 2011

Construction work begins to prepare for drilling geologic characterization well

United Contractors Midwest (UCM) Inc. has begun road upgrades in the Beilschmidt Road area in preparation for drilling a geologic characterization well later this summer. These road upgrades will also benefit neighbors who live in the area. UCM won the contract in a competition between three construction firms located in Morgan and Sangamon counties. Consistent with the Alliance’s commitment to union labor, UCM will staff the construction project with union labor.

Construction work will include:

  • Building pullouts on Beilschmidt Road so that vehicles can more safely pass each other;
  • Upgrading a private farm road that will connect Beilschmidt Road to the characterization well site;
  • Removing and storing top soil at the characterization well site, so that after drilling is complete and the drilling equipment is gone, much of the top soil can be replaced and the ground can be returned to productive farm land;
  • Building a gravel pad at the characterization well site where the well will be drilled.

The Alliance also signed a repair and maintenance agreement with the Morgan County Road District. This assures that if any of the FutureGen’s heavy trucks damage any county roads in the area (e.g., inadvertently create potholes) the FutureGen project will pay to return them to equal or better condition.

The Alliance has also finalized a contract for the drilling work with Les Wilson, Inc., an Illinois drilling company, that won the competition to drill the well. Les Wilson is one of very few drillers in the region with the qualifications and equipment to drill the type of very deep well that is required. Drilling is expected to begin by mid-August. The well will be used to study the geology nearly a mile deep underground. It will only be used for scientific study and no CO2 will be injected into the well. Data collected from this well will increase our understanding of the underlying geology and help further validate that the proposed storage site is good for long-term storage of CO2.

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