Students, faculty will get second chance to discuss gas drilling possibilities

A second discussion about the status of the university’s natural gas opportunities will take place at 12:15 p.m. today.Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration, will lead the discussion again to follow up on their discussion Thursday about the gas-drilling operations.

They provided an update on the progress being made toward an agreement and said safety requirements must be met before any lease will be signed.

Students and faculty were also allowed to ask questions and give their feedback on the process.

The university began to examine its opportunities for natural gas exploration last month after it was approached by several energy companies with leases, according to a news release about the drilling.

On March 2, the board of trustees signed a letter of intent naming Four Sevens the university’s natural gas operator and gave the company sole negotiating rights with the university.

University-owned land sits on top of part of the Barnett Shale, which is one of the largest natural gas resources in the United States. It has been highly sought after by energy companies looking to tap into the natural gas resource.

Although a primary focus of the drilling will be to increase revenue, it will also impact students in the engineering, geology and environmental science departments through focused research, according to the media release.