State and county leaders gather to learn about drilling exploration

Photo courtesy of Blackstone Exploration Company Following discussion of the developments of Blackstone Exploration Company, (left to right) Blackstone board member Loren Glick, Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairman Frank Thorwald, Blackstone President Carmon Bonanno, Rocking Chair Ranch President Bill Elkins, Arizona State Land Department Mineral Section Manager Joe Dixon, Navajo County Manager James Jayne and former Arizona Geological Survey administrator Nyal Niemuth stand in front of Blackstone’s Drilling Rig 1.

June 30 marked a significant day in Arizona’s oil and gas history as Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairman Frank Thorwald, Arizona State Land Department Mineral Section Manager Joe Dixon and former Arizona Geological Survey administrator Nyal Niemuth traveled from Phoenix to Navajo County to meet with Carmon Bonanno, president of Blackstone Exploration Company.

The meeting was arranged to discuss Bonanno’s crude oil, natural gas and helium exploration and development programs, and to tour what Blackstone has accomplished thus far. Blackstone is currently focused in the Holbrook Basin, but with its affiliates is the largest lessee of oil and gas rights across the state.

Also present for the meeting and tour were Rocking Chair Ranch President Bill Elkins, Navajo County Manager James Jayne, Blackstone board member Loren Glick and Blackstone Secretary Trent Buckley.

The tour began at Blackstone’s first state well, which the firm is drilling with expectations to discover crude oil in the Devonian formation, from roughly 3,300 to 3,700 feet. The tour then continued to the four wells drilled previously this year on the Rocking Chair Ranch, where Blackstone is developing a program to produce natural gas and helium.

Blackstone leased this private land in September from Elkins, who is the first private mineral owner between Holbrook and Snowflake to have wells drilled and tested in more than 40 years.