Moral dilemma? (down the oil rabbit-hole...)

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PostWed May 12, 2010 6:55 pm » by Cornbread714


I wasn't sure where to post this, since it involves governments, the environment, conspiracies, and personal off-topic stuff.

Anyway, I found out a couple of years ago (to my utter surprise) that I am a partial owner of a small tract of land that my great-grandmother owned in East Texas. I was not aware of this land, nor were any of my siblings. Both my parents are dead and I received no inheritance. My dad was an honest lawyer (yes, they do - or did - exist :D ), so I had to survive on my own (and have since i was a teen). Thanks, dad... (couldn't you have done just a LITTLE dirty dealing? Just kidding... :D ).

And the way I found out about it was because the oil people want to drill on it. I don't know how many are familiar with the Haynesville Shale formation that straddles the border of Louisiana and Texas.

Image

It is a MAJOR natural gas discovery , one of the biggest ever found, the problem is that the gas is WAY deep and they are just now developing technology to get at it.


Image


Anyway, being the eternal poverty-stricken musician that I am, I have to admit my ears perked up - visions of the Beverly Hillbillies and cement ponds (don't forget Ellie Mae!) began dancing in my head.

Now, understand this is a small portion of a relatively small piece of land and the more I investigate, the more I realize that my portion of whatever comes out of there (IF they decide to drill there - a big IF, btw...) is likely to be small, but hey, any money is always a welcome thing in my world...

However, being the softy left-wing liberal that Spock thinks I am (and he's right), I have had qualms from day one.

I grew up in oilfield country and i know first-hand how devastating it is and has been on the Gulf Coast wetllands.

Oh yeah, and it seems like I heard something recently about a little spill offshore? :D

Soooo,
I just wanted to start a little discussion.

How would you feel if you were in my shoes? Could you accept the potential cost to the environment to line your pockets with oil company money?

Also I have a bunch of links about the Haynesville Shale find if this discussion takes off.

They even made a documentary about it which I haven't seen yet on the net.

Here's a forum link:

http://www.gohaynesvilleshale.com/ Mostly landowners wondering when payday is coming, but good info, too...


Here's an interesting memo from a Louisiana Governor candidate, it's short and worth the read...

http://api.ning.com/files/pM60mkxIbC3Cs ... mpbell.pdf


And aside from my personal moral dilemma, how do you guys feel about oil exploration and regulation in general?

Yes, I know we have to develop other sources, but what to do in the meantime? :think:
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PostWed May 12, 2010 8:36 pm » by Cornbread714


By Alisa Stingley
astingley@gannett.com

Blanche Jefferson lives in Shreveport, but her worries are all south of here.

Her granddaughter and five great-grandchildren live south of Spring Ridge and close to where 17 cows died after ingesting liquid that spilled from a nearby natural gas drilling rig site into a pasture.

“I’m mostly concerned … stuff might get in the water,” said Jefferson, 79, adding that the family depends on well water.

The environmental impact of drilling has her so concerned that she’s rethinking whether she wants to lease mineral rights from property she owns in that area to an energy company in the future.

“Money is nothing if something happened to them,” she says of the children.

The Haynesville Shale has brought prosperity to many northwest Louisiana property owners and governments. And nationwide there is an urgency to depend more on natural gas, a clean-burning fuel. However, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is reviewing several area incidents:

n April: Seventeen cows died in a south Caddo Parish pasture after ingesting a liquid found pooled in the pasture, a spill from a nearby Chesapeake Energy drilling site. No reports on what killed the cows have been made public.

n May: Fifteen Naborton families evacuated when a Chesapeake well east of Mansfield began blowing natural gas into the air. The air quality was monitored, and a Chesapeake spokesman said there was no threat to public safety or the environment. According to DEQ files on the case, 50 million standard cubic feet of methane gas — the main component of natural gas — was discharged after a casing valve failed.

DEQ doesn’t require notification of the release of 1 million standard cubic feet but does require notification of more than 2.5 million in a planned release. The Naborton release, however, was unplanned. Otis Randle, manager of the DEQ regional office here, said 50 million is “a lot of gas.” But he said people would not suffer health problems unless they breathed in a concentrated amount.

The main risk to nearby residents is the potential for explosion, and methane causes an adverse impact on the planet’s ozone layer, since methane is a greenhouse gas. The DEQ report on the Naborton well said the release did not have an off-site environmental impact.

July: A natural gas well blowout occurred in north Sabine Parish, about six miles east of Converse. No residents were evacuated. The well was owned by Chesapeake, whose spokesman said there was no threat to the public or environment, and air quality was being monitored as a precaution. DEQ’s regional office in Shreveport investigated the blowout, finding it “pretty routine,” said Randle. No details on the amount released were available.

There are environmental concerns beyond reported incidents too:

Ground and surface water issues have arisen, particularly in south Caddo and DeSoto parishes, which heavily depend on the fragile Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. On the last day of June, about 1,000 customers of South DeSoto Water System had no water while workers replaced a pump. Officials wondered publicly if a natural gas drilling operation just 500 feet from their water well was making their equipment work harder to pump.

The water system’s problem and other water worries across the parish were discussed a day later during a forum for water system operators that the Logansport Chamber of Commerce had organized weeks before.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for 61 percent of Louisiana’s residents. Of this 61 percent, 12 percent use domestic wells and 49 percent rely on public water supplies.

On the national stage, a bill has been introduced in Congress to remove exemptions given oil and gas operators related to the process of hydraulic fracturing and its impact on water sources. Removing the exemption could heavily impact operators in the Haynesville Shale, since almost all of the drilling here involves “fracking.” The lengthy permitting process could be costly to companies and delay drilling.

U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, has said he opposes such legislation, since there are no documented cases of anyone becoming sick from fracking water contaminating drinking water sources. However, environmental advocacy groups say there is anecdotal evidence of contamination and more stringent oversight is needed.

Many of the Web sites of the major competitors in the Haynesville Shale tout their dedication to preserving the environment.

Chesapeake’s page notes that it is a key contributor to The Nature Conservancy, and “our objective is to leave each site in as good, if not better, condition than when we started drilling.”

The U.S. Department of Interior recognized Devon Energy with a national award for its outstanding environmental and safety performance in the Gulf of Mexico.

And EnCana’s page notes: “We are looking at opportunities to recycle water and this option will become more viable as the play is further developed.”

While the proliferation of drilling in the Haynesville Shale is making environmental issues more visible and prominent, such concerns didn’t just arrive with the shale. Two cases from DEQ files:

In June, a Carthage, Texas, man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of illegally discharging a pollutant into Louisiana waters after ordering a truck driver to discharge well treatment fluid into a Natchitoches Parish creek in April 2006. The man was sentenced to 24 months probation and agreed to pay a $5,000 criminal fine.

“Unfortunately, economic incentives drive environmental crime,” said Jeffrey T. Nolan, DEQ’s criminal investigations division manager.

In August 2006, DEQ responded to a landowner’s complaint that a well site where Winchester Energy was operating near Frierson had released at least four barrels of saltwater from a fracturing tank. According to DEQ files, the company had not contacted DEQ about the spill, which violates regulations. Also, the landowner said he asked Winchester to clean up the site but it refused. A few days later, DEQ noticed a cleanup in progress at the site, where vegetation had been killed in an area about 20 feet by 100 feet. DEQ in April this year deemed the site OK and did not take any action against Winchester.

Are such incidents unintentional or malicious?

DEQ recently held a workshop in Shreveport for oil and gas operators and related companies on permitting, compliance, online tools, development of a handbook and other matters.

“The issue of noncompliance isn’t because somebody is trying to be shifty,” said Chris Piehler, senior environmental scientist with DEQ. “It’s just not knowing.”

Local governments also want shale operators to know what they expect. Bossier City recently became the first local government to produce an oil and gas ordinance related to quality of life issues. Other governments are still studying possible ordinances.

The ordinance addresses dust, vibration and odors, along with fumes from engines or compressors. The document also prohibits allowing wastes such as oil, naphtha, petroleum, asphalt, tar, hydrocarbon substances from operations getting into public rights of way, alleys, streets, lots, drainage ditches, any body of water or any private property.

Violators of the ordinance can be hit with fines per day authorized by the city, and temporary restraining orders and injunctions may be issued.

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker said in a letter to the state: “We feel as though appropriate regulations will benefit both our citizens and the industry.”
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PostWed May 12, 2010 8:48 pm » by TheDuck


I hate most stuff that goes on in this world lol so its no good asking me, but seriously if you need the money then sell it, if not then f**k 'em, although they may find a way around you somehow...

Pretty cool anyway man

Edit* Image < lol
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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:00 pm » by Cornbread714


theduck wrote:I hate most stuff that goes on in this world lol so its no good asking me, but seriously if you need the money then sell it, if not then f**k 'em, although they may find a way around you somehow...

Pretty cool anyway man

Edit* Image < lol


Yeah, I may not be too popular if I try to speak out against it... :nails:

Image It is Texas, after all...
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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:06 pm » by TheDuck


I think just to have the moral high-ground you should sell it, and give me the money to play poker with 8-)



:cheers:
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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:07 pm » by Cornbread714


theduck wrote:I think just to have the moral high-ground you should sell it, and give me the money to play poker with 8-)



:cheers:



Good plan, thanks, Ducky! :flop:
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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:07 pm » by Badger


Hey corn,

Your dilemma is interesting, but personally I wouldn't sell it. because there are far cleaner forms of energy if the tight a***d b*****ds who are keeping it under wraps (so they can maximise their profits from the oil) would release it to the public.

If they got the go-ahead from one of your neighbours wouldn't they be able to take it out from under you anyway?

I mean, it's not like the oil conforms to mans imposed borders, they would be able to suck it out with out you even knowing.....
Image

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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:13 pm » by TheDuck


badger wrote:Hey corn,

Your dilemma is interesting, but personally I wouldn't sell it. because there are far cleaner forms of energy if the tight a***d b*****ds who are keeping it under wraps (so they can maximise their profits from the oil) would release it to the public.

If they got the go-ahead from one of your neighbours wouldn't they be able to take it out from under you anyway?

I mean, it's not like the oil conforms to mans imposed borders, they would be able to suck it out with out you even knowing.....


precisley it would just probably cost more...

Better to just bite the bullet and sell, and yeh that's why I said no good asking me I'de be lecturing them about over-unity generators and what not :lol:

:shooting: ImageImage

Could probably win you some money if you donated it to me lol

We could grab ourselves a couple of AS50's and go for broke from a mile away :twisted:

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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:22 pm » by Cornbread714


badger wrote:Hey corn,

Your dilemma is interesting, but personally I wouldn't sell it. because there are far cleaner forms of energy if the tight a***d b*****ds who are keeping it under wraps (so they can maximise their profits from the oil) would release it to the public.

If they got the go-ahead from one of your neighbours wouldn't they be able to take it out from under you anyway?

I mean, it's not like the oil conforms to mans imposed borders, they would be able to suck it out with out you even knowing.....


Well, (pun intended) it's not as simple as me deciding to sell, it's the rest of my siblings and relatives that would split the money - they would probably have me declared mentally incompetent (no smart remarks, Mep :D) if I tried to stand in the way, ha ha.

And I really don't know what rights I have or how any of the shit works. I was contacted by a cousin a couple of years ago about it, and haven't heard much since, so I did a bit of investigating and it seems that they are starting to drill in the area after a lull due to last year's economic crisis. I assume I'll hear something again, or maybe not...

Anyway, it's not about selling the land but leasing mineral rights.

I'm more interested in the way you guys would feel in the same position, and how you guys feel about oil and natural gas development and regulation in general.

For once, the issue is on my doorstep, so to speak, and it has me thinking about the overall issues, particularly considering the ongoing immense disaster we are still unable to deal with in the Gulf of Mexico, which really makes me heart-sick and discouraged about all of our futures.
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PostWed May 12, 2010 9:26 pm » by Alwaysincontrol


I'm a Landman in Texas down south and I can tell you from personal experience, sell it (make money), hold on to it for royalties or leases (make money), or take the best offer that comes along and make your money. Yes drilling does destroy the environment and the animals around any well or drilling pad for up to 100 acres if its properly contained. If you live or know someone who is living on that property I would think twice about letting a company come in and destroy the land especially if you/they have livestock on it.

The truth is regardless if you and the entire town want to protest that oil is coming out of the ground. In previous days we were only able to drill straight down to about 9000 feet. But with advances in drilling we can do directional drilling and start on one piece of property drilling under someone elses property to get to the oil and completely go around you or whom ever they choose. We can even drill straight down and make a 90 degree turn and drill past 10000 feet as they are now discovering that there is an ass ton of oil below the previous shales they have now emptied.

So to sum it up, hold out but not for too long. Eventually if they are interested in your property (for gas lines distribution or drilling) they will find you and make an offer. Some communities "pool" and everyone gets paid the same if it covers alot of areas but I've heard alot of people who did that and then the companies backed out last minute b/c it was too much money. All they really need is a few land owners to buy a lease from and start pumping. The average well can take up a space of about 50 to 100 acres.

VERY IMPORTANT: Go down to the county courthouse and make sure you have a deed with your name on it and an accurate metes and bounds description. If the oil/gas company sends me to the courthouse and your dad or whomever didnt file a probate or updated record to show you're the current landowner the oil company might write a check to the wrong person.

How many acres do you have?
"It is done, now my eggs need nourishment" - Anna


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