- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - An oil-drilling boom at Indiana State University’s downtown Terre Haute campus has filled school coffers with about $350,000 in royalties so far thanks to an Illinois company that holds several leases to tap the area’s oil reserves.

ISU vice president for business affairs Diann McKee said Tuesday the money from Lawrenceville, Illinois-based Pioneer Oil Co.’s drilling operations is going toward school maintenance needs that total about $100 million.

“We’re grateful to have some extra funds available to address some of these deferred maintenance needs we have. It will certainly help with that,” she told the Tribune-Star (https://bit.ly/1tQuIxX ).

Pioneer Oil signed an oil and gas lease with the university in 2012 and began drilling last May after seismic testing on the campus and adjacent areas determined that sufficient reserves were present to warrant drilling.

The company’s drilling equipment is positioned at a former industrial site on university-owned property east of the western Indiana campus.

In May, ISU President Dan Bradley presented school trustees with commemorative jars filled with crude oil after informing them that oil production was underway.

McKee said the university recognizes that with the drop in crude oil prices, royalties will likely decline, but she said it’s too early to know how much they might fall.

Pioneer Oil signed more than a dozen other leases in 2013 with the Vigo County School Corp., businesses and churches whose land sits above the oil reserves. Those entities are also benefiting from oil royalties.

Donna Wilson, chief financial officer for the Vigo County School Corp., said the district has received $9,803 in royalties.

“We haven’t had a discussion relative to the use of the funds,” she stated.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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