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Where does one get a specific use permit?

Application packets include a checklist, a disclosure of interest, fee schedule, may be obtained from the Development Services Desk or from our online forms page.

How long will the zoning process take?

Approximately twelve (12) weeks to complete the zoning process.

Can one apply for a Gas Well Permit prior to obtaining a specific use permit (SUP)

Yes. The SUP and the Gas Well Permit can be processed concurrently and go through the public hearings at the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. However, a gas well permit will not be issued without an approved SUP.

Where does one get a gas well permit application?

An application can be obtained from our online forms page. It is recommended that the applicant schedule a meeting with staff prior to actually submitting the application and requested materials.

How long is the process to get a Gas Well Permit once zoning is acquired?

Approximately twelve (12) weeks to City Council (First Reading).

How is our Fresh Water drinking zones protected?

The Rail Road Commission (RRC) & Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) department sets our depths to protect our natural fresh water zones on interest in Texas. The operator is required by law to set our surface casing to a depth of a minimum of 20’ deeper than what the TCEQ requirements state. When drilling our surface hole we only use fresh water mud laden fluids that are not toxic or hazardous to the public. The surface casing is always cemented back to the surface to protect these fresh water bearing zones of interest.

Are gas wells noisy when they are operating?

The construction, drilling & fracturing process of creating a gas well generates the most noise. The construction & fracturing process has operations during daylight to dark time frames to help keep noise & traffic problems to a minimum. The construction phase normally takes 2-3 weeks and work is only done during daylight to dark time periods. The drilling phase of the gas well is a 24 hour per day 7 day per week operations. This normally lasts +/-30 days depending on the total depth (TD). The fracturing phase or completion phase as also sometimes called takes 3-5 days & normally only runs during daylight to dark time periods. If the wells do not flow or produce on their own natural ability then at times, gas compressors are installed to help lift or remove fluid from the hole where the wells can flow. These compressors create a small amount of noise that is normally controlled by housing the units to cut down on the noise level.

Do natural gas wells produce bad odors?

The gas that is produced in the Barnett Shale does not have any odor.

At nighttime I see tall, brightly lit derricks with lots of activity. Is this what I can expect in my neighborhood?

The lights you see are needed for the 24 hour operation. They are also turned in towards the work & not out away from the structure. This operation normally last only about 30 days.

How will traffic in my neighborhood be affected? Will there be a lot of trucks and construction vehicles?

During the moving in & rig up time several truck loads (normally 30-40) trucks will move in all the drilling equipment. After the (+/-) 30 day time period, those trucks will be moved back in to remove all that equipment. Also, during the completion period, another 3-4 days, several more large trucks (normally 5-8) will move in for the fracturing job or completion phase.

How long is the well active or producing?

Some wells produce 15-20 years, depending on the quality of formation.

How is natural gas transported?

Natural gas is transported via buried gas lines located in and around the Metroplex. Most of these lines have been in existence for 30 years. These lines are inspected, are pressure tested on an annual basis, and are buried below the ground level a minimum of 3 feet. These lines are all clearly marked with pipe markers that are normally bright yellow markings with the company name and emergency phone numbers.

What is Rigging up & Rigging Down of drilling rig?

These are the names used in the industry for moving in the actual drilling rig; installing all the parts, units, motors and equipment; and getting ready to drill the well. Once the well is drilled, the process is again done in reverse to remove all the equipment used in the drilling operations.

What is the Term “Spudding” a well or Spudding in?

A term used in the industry to reflect the very beginning of drilling operations of a well. This term was handed down from the old cable tool drillers.

What is Rotary Drilling compared to Top Drive Drilling?

Both of these methods are a means by which a hole is drilled by rotating a bit and the downward force that is provided by the heavy weighted drill collars. Most rigs operating now days are Rotary driven, meaning they have a rotary table turning a Kelly to enable the bit to turn at the bottom of the hole. These types of systems are run by a means of belts or chains that turn (rotate) the rotary table which is connected to the Kelly. This connection allows rotation to the bit at the bottom of the hole. Several rigs in the industry are converting to the Top Drive drilling method which is another means of providing a rotation method to the bit. This device is normally operated off hydraulics not by chains.

What are TD, TMD, TVD, and HD?

Total Depth (TD) is the greatest depth reached by a well bore. The total measured depth (TMD) is the actual TD measurement reached when drilling a directional or horizontal well; TMD is deeper than TD since it is the measurement of the actual depth of penetration. Horizontal depth (HD) is the measurement of a well bore drilled parallel to the bedding planes of formations—also called the Vertical Section of a horizontal well. True Vertical Depth (TVD) is the actual depth from the surface to the deepest point of penetration into the earth or a measurement of the distance drilled perpendicularly to the bedding plane; TVD is always shorter than the TMD.

What is a frac pit?

It is an earth pit dug out by a bull dozer and lined with plastic. Its measurements run in the range of 200’ x 400’ depending on how much water is used to fracture the wells. These pits are filled with fresh water and look like a large swimming pool. These pits are used to store fresh water that is used in fracturing of the Barnett Shale. It takes approximately 4,000,000 gallons of water to fracture a well. The pits are leveled and the land restored when the Operator is finished with the completion process.

What is a Closed-Loop Mud System?

This is a process where all cuttings that are created by the drilling of the new hole will be transported by truck off location to an approved disposal system. The cuttings are normally distributed on top of the ground & turned in by a tandem or disk like equipment. All of the disposal sites have been approved & monitored by the Railroad Commission. Cuttings are particles of formation obtained from a well during drilling operations. They are brought to the surface by circulating mud-laden fluid.

What is circulating?

To pump drilling fluid from the suction pit, through the drill pipe and back to the surface through the annulus. Although mud is circulated during the term circulated or circulating applies to this operation while drilling is temporarily suspended, to obtain samples from bottom or keep hole in condition while awaiting other operations. The circulating fluid typically consists of fresh water, oil or other liquid and contains clay, weighting materials and or chemicals which is circulated through the drill pipe and well bore during the rotary drilling and work-over operations.

What is Drill Pipe (DP), Drill Collars (DC) and drill stem?

Drill pipe is the tubular member of the drill string to which tool joints are attached. Drill Collars are a heavy walled component of the drill string placed between the bit and the drill pipe to maintain vertical penetration of the bit and supply the weight necessary for drilling. Additional drill collars are added as the weight on the bit is increased. Drill Stem is the entire drilling assembly from the swivel to the bit; composed of the Kelly, drill pipe with tool joints, drill collars, stabilizers, shock absorbers, and reamers.

What is cementing casing and waiting on cement (WOC)?

Cementing is the operation by which a cement slurry is forced down through the casing and out at the lower end in such a way that it fills the space between the casing and the sides of the well bore to a predetermined height above the bottom of the well. This is for the purpose of securing the casing in place and excluding water and other fluids from the well bore. All cements are in a liquid phase and able to be pumped by pumps. WOC is the time operations are shut down with no circulation or activity after which cement is pumped. This time is allowed for the cement to “cure” or harden to a specified or desired hardness prior to proceeding to any other operations.

What is fracturing or completing with hydraulic horsepower?

Fracturing is a means of opening the Barnett Shale formation up by the use of hydraulic horse power and fresh water. The fresh water stored in our Frac pits will be pumped in stages into the Barnett Shale formation with rates of 50-150 barrels per minute, using several trucks to create this energy. Once the fracture (opening of rock) has been created by this force then sand (like beach sand) is mixed with the fresh water and pumped into these fractures to help prevent the fracture from closing back once the hydraulic force is reduced. By packing or filling of these fractures with sand, this will allow the natural formation to produce into the new drilled well bore (hole) and bring gas to surface. This type of completion technique is what makes the Barnett Shale productive & economical. Hydraulic is the branch of engineering which treats of liquids in motion, or its action. It is also the know-how about the effects of fluid velocities and pressures and the power involved. The pressure of either a standing or moving column of fluid is directly related with its density (weight per unit volume, normally pounds per gallon or specific gravity) but the moving column is also concerned with a pressure relation due to friction of flow or change in velocity as well as density. This friction is related to viscosity as well as density. This friction is related to viscosity (resistance to flow) mainly for smooth (laminar) flow but it is more concerned with density for turbulent flow which involves most practical situations.

What is a wellhead or Christmas tree?

A term applied to the valves and fittings assembled at the top of a well to control the flow of the oil & gas. These valves and fittings are all pressure tested to a minimum of 5,000psi before and after installing.

What is a tank battery?

It is normally a single or double steel or fiberglass tank that can hold fluids of 200-400 barrels. There is also normally a gas separator inside the battery which allows the water or oil to separate from the gas. It provides some retention time that allows the gas to break out of the oil or water and then move into the gas sales system or pipeline. The fluids (gas or oil) are then dumped into existing steel or fiberglass tanks for storage and or removal. The fluids will be removed by trucking that is also done during daylight to dark time periods. In most Metroplex settings, these tanks and batteries will be “low-profile” meaning; they will be lower than standard tank batteries. This is done in an effort to lessen the visual effects of operating on our neighborhoods. Most of the Metroplex tank batteries will also be protected by concrete or masonry walls and trees.

What is a Blow Out?

A sudden, violent escape of gas and oil (and sometimes water) from a drilling well when high pressure gas is encountered and efforts to prevent or to control the escape has not been successful.

What is a Blow out Preventor (BOP)?

A device attached immediately above the casing to control the pressure and prevent escape of fluids from the annular space between the drill pipe and casing or shut off the hole if no drill pipe is in the hole, should a kick or blowout occur. These devices are pressure tested between 3,500 – 5,000psi when installed and every two weeks afterwards. They also have remote control valves to operate from a safe distance if needed.