Indiana State University Newsroom

Oil drilling set to begin

December 11, 2013

After nearly two years of planning and surveying, oil drilling is about to begin on Indiana State University property.

Crews with Lawrenceville, Ill.-based Pioneer Oil Co. are scheduled to begin setting up equipment Saturday and drilling is expected to start early next week, university officials said.

"Even though the drilling site is not on campus, we worked with Pioneer officials to schedule the start of the drilling operation during winter break in order to minimize the impact on students, faculty and day-to-day university operations," said Diann McKee, vice president of business affairs and finance.

University trustees approved an oil and gas lease with Pioneer in February 2012. The company later commissioned seismic testing on the Indiana State campus and adjacent areas and has determined that sufficient reserves are present to warrant drilling.

The university's agreement with Pioneer provides that equipment be located at a former industrial site on university-owned property east of campus and horizontal drilling will be used to reach oil and gas beneath the campus.

All pumping gear and related equipment will be below ground, a screen will be constructed around any tank farm related to the project. Hydraulic fracturing will not be used, McKee said.

"Pioneer Oil has experience in oil exploration in environmentally sensitive areas, including Harmonie State Park and the University of Southern Indiana, and we appreciate company officials working with us to ensure that this operation will have limited impact on the university and its neighbors," she said.

Indiana State's agreement with Pioneer provides for royalty payments of not less than 15 percent for all oil products that are produced. Proceeds will be placed in a dedicated fund to address deferred maintenance.

Contact: Diann McKee, vice president, business affairs and finance, Indiana State University, 812-237-7779 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or