Residents prepare for area gas drilling

The voices of Horned Frogs cheering for the home team will soon be silent around Amon Carter Stadium, only to be followed shortly by the sound of natural gas drilling.Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said meetings were held last spring with the neighborhood association leaders around the TCU campus to address their concerns and suggestions about the drilling, which is set to begin next semester in the stadium’s remote parking lot.

Gutierrez said the leaders of each association had prepared their concerns, which were reviewed, and made sure that they were taken into consideration while drafting the lease with the Four Sevens Resources Co. in summer 2007. The lease has now been transferred to Chesapeake Exploration, LLC.

Will Adams, a senior entrepreneurial management and English major, lives in the University West neighborhood next to the parking lot where the drilling is supposed to take place.

Adams said he thinks the natural gas drilling is a good because it brings in additional revenue for TCU. Adams said he was initially worried about the loud noise caused by drilling. However, because there is an ordinance on how loud it can be, he said, it should not be a problem.

Gutierrez said noise was one of the issues considered by TCU and the operators are required to abide by city of Fort Worth noise ordinances.

Paul McKinney, president of University West Neighborhood Association, said Gutierrez has assured the neighborhood association their concerns will be addressed with the best technology and quiet drilling machines.

McKinney said the drilling must be at least 600 feet away from the houses.

John Wilmoth, a resident of the University West neighborhood, said he hopes proper research will be done before beginning the drilling to prevent accidents.

“I am a little concerned about it from a safety perspective,” Wilmoth said.

Wilmoth said he is also concerned about noise, bright lights generated during the drilling and the flow of traffic during the drilling period.

Steven Harris, another resident of the University West neighborhood, said the drilling is inevitable because TCU has already signed the contract.

“I am not opposed to urban drilling,” McKinney said. “But why does it have to be so close to our houses?”

Gutierrez said there will be three drilling periods from Jan. 10 to July 31 in 2008, 2009 and 2010, as outlined in the lease. Besides accomodating the football season, the periods were set to make the work more efficient, Gutierrez said.

“What this does is it encourages the energy company to come out and be very efficient about their time that they spend at TCU,” he said.

Gutierrez said the revenues generated by TCU will not be released to the public.

“I have a non-disclosure agreement on the finances with respect to the lease,” he said.