Oil exploration underway in northwestern Arizona

Crews are using seismic equipment to explore for natural gas and oil reserves in northwest Arizona.

The presence of the apparatus without public notice triggered some unfounded fears in the community of Golden Valley, a desert community just west of Kingman.

"All of a sudden they see these strange looking vehicles driving through their neighborhoods and they don‘t have a clue what‘s going on," said Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop. She said some have expressed concern that they might lose their property through eminent domain if profitable reserves are discovered through the research.

The project is commissioned by the Alberta, Canada-based International Softrock Oil Co. Chief Financial Officer David Pinkman said the research area covers some 70,000 acres of land leased from the state, the private sector and the federal government.

Pinkman said four vibrator trucks and crews are focusing their research along a 110-mile area from Golden Valley to just north of the community of Yucca.

The trucks send sound waves deep into the ground. Measurements of the sound as it bounces back help scientists map subsurface geology, sometimes locating gas and oil reserves.

Pinkman said on-site work will be completed in early August and that the $1.5 million exploratory effort should culminate early next year, producing data regarding the potential viability of natural resource extraction.

Pinkman said Philips Petroleum conducted similar "carpet bombing" research in the same area in the early 1980s using explosives rather that sound waves for exploration. Natural gas and oil exploration in southwestern states was shelved more than 30 years ago when the industry tanked, he added.