League City Oil & Gas Drilling Encroaches on Houston

by Kenneth E. DuBose on August 8, 2011

League City is close to updating its oil & gas drilling regulations due to proposed drilling within the city limits. While Houston is the oil & gas industry capital of the world, the city’s urban areas have gone largely untouched compared to those in Pennsylvania and just up I-45 in Dallas-Fort Worth. That is set to change with recent developments. Forza Operating plans to drill wells in city limits and drilling ordinances have become a hot topic. The debate centers around required setbacks from buildings. Currently, League City requires a 300-350 ft setback, but that is likely to be increased to 600-1,000 ft. In a city dominated by energy, it will be interesting to hear the final verdict.

Forza Operatings development plans are in addition to Denbury Resources’ plan to rejuvenate the Hastings Field South of Houston. Denbury has been planning its Hastings Area development for several years, but once operations begin in earnest it will bring greater visibility of the industry in Houston. The company will be drilling and re-completing old oil wells to begin a CO2 enhanced recovery project that is expected to coax hundreds of millions of barrels to the surface.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the new regulations will come up for a second vote, but still undecided is the contentious matter of how far back an oil or natural gas well must be from homes, schools, water wells and other structures.

The current regulations include a 300- to 350-foot setback for most buildings. At the last city council meeting, members were divided about whether that distance should be increased to 600 feet or 1,000 feet.

City staff was asked to come back with clearer definitions of what buildings should be included in the setbacks and what that distance should be.

Read the full news release at GalvestonDailyNews.com

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