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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

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Officials seek controlled drill period

In a second natural gas discussion with the TCU community Wednesday, an administrator revealed tentative details of TCU’s drilling calendar and said the university would have the authority to temporarily cease drilling during certain periods.Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration, told participants that within the first year the producer would put the pipeline underground, drill a test core to ensure gas was in the area and drill one to two wells.

“We actually want the drilling period to be very tight and very short,” Gutierrez said. “You have to create a window that’s adequate to allow the company to drill the number of wells it will take to drill the campus.”

Gutierrez also informed the group that there will most likely be only one drill site located west of Main Campus that will include six to eight wells.

Although intermittent drilling will slow the overall process, it will provide a reprieve during high-traffic times of the year such as football season, Gutierrez said.

Apart from the details of a potential drilling schedule, TCU’s message to the community remained unchanged: drilling on campus is a distant possibility.

Unable to attend last week’s session, another wave of students, faculty, staff and area residents gathered in the student center lounge to discuss TCU’s natural gas opportunities.

Gutierrez reiterated that TCU had entered exclusive negotiations with Four Sevens Resources Co. and stressed that a signed lease would be required to meet the university’s strict safety and environmental stipulations.

“Safety is a primary concern for us,” said Gutierrez, restating last week’s stance that if safety could not be maintained, TCU would not go through with the project.

Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said TCU has hired an independent risk manager to help ensure safety during each step in the process.

The first TCU-sponsored discussion, which took place March 22, saw a larger crowd than Wednesday’s forum and included some outspoken critics of the potential drilling campaign.

At that meeting, two TCU-area residents, one of which is a TCU history professor, expressed acute apprehension toward increased truck traffic and prolonged construction around their homes.

Wednesday’s gathering lacked such opposition and featured mostly procedural questions regarding timelines and drill locations.

Because of a non-disclosure agreement with Four Sevens, Gutierrez would not divulge the monetary value of the deal being negotiated, but said last week that it was “significant.”

Even if drilling fails to yield gas, and, therefore, fails to generate royalties, TCU would still receive a considerable bonus simply for signing the lease, Gutierrez said.

Beyond the financial motivations of a deal with Four Sevens, Mills said several departments, namely geology, environmental science and business, would benefit from the hands-on educational opportunities.

Taylor Allen, an entrepreneurial management major who worked as a landman for an energy company based in Oklahoma, said he had no safety or aesthetic concerns about the potential lease and is in favor of natural gas exploration of campus.

“You have to look at the big picture,” said Allen, likening gas exploration to current campus construction. “The middle of campus does not look very good right now, but, in a year, it will be beneficial to the university.

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