Manvel city council held a public hearing on a request to establish an oil and gas drilling well on property south of the Chevron station located on SH 6 just west of SH 288. Comments were presented for council’s consideration from both supporters of the well and those opposed. One landowner, a 45-year resident of the city, spoke of a desire to realize the financial benefit of the minerals underneath his property. He also made the case that Manvel and Brazoria County would see financial benefit from the taxes that would be levied on the production resulting from the well’s activities. He feels the drill site would not bother anybody as it would be established some distance south of the Chevron on land with little else around than vegetation. Another longtime resident claimed 75 years in the city and reminded council of the import oil companies had on the community in past years, particularly in the funding of local schools. He claimed, “Manvel has lived on the back of Texaco and other production for over eight-five years.” He expressed frustration with council in reminding them that the drill company met all the necessary requirements two years ago and wonders what the holdup is. He said, “I think it is high time we got production pursued around here.” He referenced the “global warming people” and foreign oil producers as holding back domestic production. “Common sense says that if we have the stuff we should produce it, we should not keep letting our enemies finance terrorists against us while we sit here and don’t produce our own stuff. I can’t imagine you’ll wanting to prevent that.”
A realtor representing the owners of a 250-acre tract on both the northwest and southwest sides of the 288/Hwy 6 intersection expressed opposition to the well. He described his tracts as the “gateway property of Manvel” and expressed “real concerns” on the effect drilling activity would have on a proposed development and the associated MUD and 380-agreements that was negotiated with the city. Describing their property as being a “beautiful pristine piece of land” and offering significant long-term development potential for the city, he explained his group as excited about the momentum going on in the area and fears the drilling activity could have a “real negative impact.”
A representative from the driller, PIC Operating, LLC, presented his case to council. This application is the company’s second appearance before council, a prior application requested authorization to drill on land just west of the Lakeland development about two years ago. The city denied that application for various reasons, but primarily due to its violation of a city requirement that no structure be within 2000 feet of an operating well. The company began work on this project in 2007 and has earned the necessary permits to establish a well. The City of Manvel remains the lone hurdle to begin. The company representative explained that the current proposed site meets the 2000 foot minimum with the exception of the Chevron station which executed a waiver of the 2000 foot requirement. There is a house within 200 feet but is located in Iowa Colony and “not applicable as far as Manvel city council is concerned.” Commercial structures across 288 do fall within 2000 feet but the drill operator claims the highway overpass provides sufficient separation from the well site so as to not be a concern. Admitting this application is their “only hope”, he went on to say that “we feel like any kind of detrimental or negative connotation to us drilling on the previously applied tract was unwarranted.” He claims the noise levels in today’s rigs are far quieter than previously. Citing state law that puts underground mineral rights above surface rights, he intimated that city efforts to stifle drilling efforts could result in some form of legal proceeding. The drilling activity would consist of approximately 25 days followed by a short evaluation period and then a few days to set production pipe. “Rig time actively would be 30 days probably at max, and then they are gone.” Remaining would be a “tree with some valves on it” that would be essentially unseen from public roads and neighboring properties.
A second public hearing will be held before council votes on the application.