Oil and gas companies could be showing more interest in drilling wells targeting the Marcellus Shale in Wyoming County, PA, after having hired a seismic contractor to perform tests across nearly half of the county on their behalf.

Local officials have confirmed that Geokinetics Inc., a Houston company, has been asking for permission to conduct seismic testing across several municipalities.

“They are in the county,” Wyoming County Administrator William Gaylord told NGI’s Shale Daily on Thursday. “I know the commissioners are very concerned about the way the drilling is going, but we haven’t been getting much involved in [the seismic testing]. They’ve just been laying little boxes on lawns in different locations.”

Although an official with Geokinetics declined to comment or disclose the oil and gas companies it has contracted with, information from the company’s website confirms that it is in Wyoming County and has partnered with Geophysical Pursuit Inc., a data acquisition and licensing firm that is also based in Houston.

Both companies’ websites report that they are gathering information on a 187-square mile area — also known as Wyoming Phase I — with plans to incorporate the results to Geokinetics’ ongoing Bradford Complex 3D Merge Project.

The area being tested includes portions of 13 townships in Wyoming County (Braintrim, Clinton, Eaton, Forkston, Lemon, Mehoopany, Meshoppen, Nicholson, North Branch, Overfield, Tunkhannock, Washington and Windham), three boroughs in Wyoming County (Factoryville, Meshoppen and Tunkhannock), and two townships in neighboring Susquehanna County (Auburn and Springville).

“They said they wanted to do the seismic testing right away,” Genevieve Evans, a member of the Factoryville Borough Council, told NGI’s Shale Daily. She said Geokinetics met the board on June 13 and said it planned to use cables for testing in the borough, not heavier equipment such as vibration trucks. The company also said it would not use underground charges in the borough.

Gaylord added that Geokinetics asked for permission to perform testing on a county-owned parcel more than six months ago, but that was the only recent activity to involve the county.

Drilling activity has been light in Wyoming County compared to its neighbors to the north, Bradford and Susquehanna. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas Management (OOGM), only nine unconventional wells have been spud in Wyoming County this year: five by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and four by Citrus Energy Corp.

During the same time frame, the OOGM said 98 wells were spud in Susquehanna County, and another 108 wells were spud in Bradford County.