Bridlewood Quality of Life Coalition

Williams is at it again! by kim0917
10 August 2009, 10:49 am
Filed under: Quality of Life, Uncategorized
Gas driller seeks good vibrations
Eric Williams
Published 08/06/2009 – 11:12 a.m. CST
    A team of personnel from Williams Companies requested that the Flower Mound Town Council allow the company to use its roadways to conduct seismic mapping and permit underground pipelines for moving water and gas.  The company says seismic mapping could help the town maximize the economic benefit of gas drilling in the Barnett shale. The council was introduced to the topic as it prepared for future study of the issue that would perhaps include a work session. City Manager Harlan Jefferson said that from the city’s perspective, issues that need to be worked out include investigating potential motorist inconvenience and the impact the seismic work may have on roadway durability.  Among the streets where Williams requested permission were Red Rock Lane, Lusk Lane and other streets running north and south in western Flower Mound.  Jefferson said that city staff would accept questions from council members before proceeding with a work session or briefing.
   Millions of dollars in revenues to local mineral rights owners and governmental entities that assess property taxes are at stake, according to Williams Companies officials, in town from Tulsa for Monday’s Council Meeting. Two made brief presentations during the public participation section of the meeting. Tony Silvestri, Vice President for the Mid-Continent Asset team for the Williams Companies, requested that the town allow Williams to use public roadways for seismic mapping.  Silvestri said the seismic mapping is needed so Williams can make the most of its precision horizontal drilling in the Barnett Shale. He said the most productive layer in the Barnett shale can be as thin as 19 feet.  In areas where horizontal drillers are working from an accurate map, the recovery of natural gas is twice as efficient. He added that Williams has 4500 acres under lease at a cost of $20 million with plans to drill 100 wells. Total investment for the wells will approach $300 million, but how much Williams invests will depend upon expected returns, he said. The stakes are high for county government, municipal governments and schools. Silvestri estimated the projects will add $30 million in ad valorem and school taxes to local coffers.   

     Williams is the largest leaseholder for natural gas production in Flower Mound, according to Marilyn Rhodes, Regulatory Specialist, in the exploration and production area of the company. The company is also requesting permission to place underground lines to move gas and water related to the drilling. Rhodes told the council that the underground pipelines would reduce truck traffic in residential areas. Rhodes said the pipelines would be built in easements Williams would acquire. Seismic mapping is a process that involves two large trucks moving slowly over a roadway. The trucks create vibrations to move through the ground before they take extensive readings.  In an interview after the meeting, Rhodes described the impact as similar to a door slamming. Council members said they have heard from a number of citizens on the issue, mostly through supportive emails from persons who stand to benefit from the gas production. However, there has also been some messages that are hostile to providing Williams Companies access to the roadways.



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