CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Last Wednesday, West Virginia State University began using a new source of natural gas — from under the university itself.
The first of three natural gas wells to be built on the Institute campus came online at 2 p.m. Wednesday. A crew from Spencer-based Reserve Oil & Gas is drilling the second well, with the third expected to be drilled before the end of the year.
Through the wells, university officials hope to make the school completely self-sufficient with natural gas drilled on site.
“The goal is for us to be able to supply and utilize our own natural gas,” university spokeswoman Kimberly Osborne said.
She said the wells are located on parts of the campus that are out of the way and not being used.
The first is located next to the Kanawha River, near the sports practice field and research station. The second well is located on the back of the former state Rehabilitation Center property, which the university acquired in 2013.
“It’s not in an area of the property that we own that’s being occupied,” Osborne said.
Most of the natural gas is used to fuel the university’s campus heating system, which heats about 1 million square feet of building space.
The current well provides enough gas to supply 40 percent of the university’s needs. Once all three wells are online, they are expected to fully supply the university’s needs. Though the university does have a backup plan in case winter demand would still outstrip supply…