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Today's words of Texas wisdom...

"I done drew the line. Just like the Alamo. You're either on one side of the line or the other. I don't want to ever leave Texas again!"- Bum Phillips

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Abandoned Oil/Gas Wells and Facilities in Texas

**If you have abandoned/orphaned oil and gas wells and facilities on your property, and you need assistance, I want to hear from you.  Information located at the end of the article.**
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by: Jeff Falck
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Right off the bat, let me say that I am not anti-oil/gas or a member of the "Stop the Fracking" crowd.  Quite the contrary, I'm a firm believer in the Texas energy industry, it's a vital part of our state's economy and I think the majority of us want to see it done responsibly, and those who operate within the industry are held accountable for their actions.

I'll reference Chris Tomlinson of the Houston Chronicle, who posted an article in June of last year that outlined the problem with the Texas Railroad Commission very clearly.  "Don't Stick Texans With Cost of Abandoned Wells".


Picture this... "A representative of an oil exploration/production company comes to your door and says you have oil/gas reserves on your property.  You enter into an "airtight" agreement and they move forward.  
Surveys are done, roads are cut, zig zagging your property. Heavy machinery and rigs are now traveling through your once pristine property.  

You're receiving checks in the mailbox and all is well.  It's more money than you've ever seen before, but a small amount compared to what the operator is taking each month.  Not to mention what they can "skim" in the gray areas of your contracts.  

Oil/gas prices start to drop, the operator has now found your property to be "marginal" or "non-producing".  The mailbox checks dry up due to "fees" and "expenses", and the operator has stopped paying their contractors. They're not returning your phone calls.  

Weeds now grow across the once heavily traveled rig roads, and the pumpers have stopped pumping all together. Tanks are left behind filled with nothing but water, sludge and who knows what else.  All this equipment is valueless and hazardous.  

Then you finally get the notice of bankruptcy or abandonment in the mail, or you've simply given up trying to contact anyone.  You're left with a huge cleanup bill on your hands, and it may be years before you get your land back the way it was.  
What do you do now?"  

Is this your reality?

I spent the last five years, observing first hand, the rise, fall, and abandonment of an oil field services operation.

Now that I've been away from it for several months, doing research I found that Texas has in the neighborhood of 12,000 abandoned/orphaned oil and gas wells, and that is not taking into consideration surface facilities such as disposals, pipe yards and roustabout locations.

Many of these locations, once they had served their purpose, are abandoned for one reason or another, usually under the protection of "bankruptcy".   

The skeletal remains of what used to be a productive facility is now left to the landowner and taxpayers of Texas to foot the bill on the cleanup. Unfortunately, some estimates into the millions of dollars.

Where is the Texas Railroad Commission in all this?  They are locked into an understaffed and underfunded, bureaucratic, "good ol' boy" network of outdated regulations, fees, and lack of enforcement capabilities.  

After the shutdown, I sent letter after letter, calls and emails asking the question about my facility, "How can a company get away with this?"  ... to no response.  

As a landowner, if the operations and production on your property have ceased, you hope to have your land returned to the way it was when you first leased to the operating company.  Unfortunately, in many cases, that doesn't happen.  

You're forced to get legal counsel and spend a lot of your time tracking down companies that no longer exist, or individuals that have "written this one off" and scurried back to their out of state offices and gated communities, doing it all over again, and you're left with quite a mess on your hands.

Right now the Texas Railroad Commission has $14.4 million dollars budgeted for fiscal year 2017 for site remediation and well plugging, hoping to clear up 1,050 abandoned/orphaned sites this year.

Why is that?  Why should the State have to set aside $14.4 million dollars to clean up a mess left behind by irresponsible operators?  

That's enough to add over 200 inspectors to the payroll to help police the industry.  From Chris' article, it states the RRC estimates of $165 million dollars to plug/clean up over 10,000 abandoned/orphaned wells in Texas.

Think of the many ways that money could be better spent!

We, as good stewards of the Texas land, need to express the need to our State Representatives that reform is necessary within the regulatory body of the Texas Railroad Commission.  Tell them fees need to be reviewed, and penalties for poor operating procedures need to be enforceable to the letter of the law, up to and including personal liability of the operating management if possible.  It needs to be made more difficult to abandon a site without accountability.

If you have abandoned/orphaned wells or facilities on your property and cannot seem to find any information or get answers to your questions, I want to hear from you.  I am working on a network of experts, including experienced oil/gas related legal council, that can assist with such issues.  

Again, these opinions are my own, and I'm a firm believer in the exploration of oil/gas and other energy alternatives in Texas.  Let's just make sure we do it responsibly and with accountability.

Thank you for visiting Texas Online Radio, and I'll post regular updates to this subject or if you have information or stories, please submit them.

Jeff

Contact info:
Jeff@TexasOnlineRadio.com
TexasOnlineRadio@Gmail.com
If you would like to set up a meeting or speak on the phone, email your contact information.


Coming soon:  Texans for Responsible Energy Exploration (TREE) which will be a grassroots organization concentrating on responsible energy exploration in Texas and assistance with abandoned/orphaned wells and facilities in the State.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Testing...testing...1,2,3. Is this mic on?

Hello there!  We're back online...

After a near five year absence from the website, relying mostly on the FB page, the Texas Online Radio main website is back up and running.

Since starting TOR back in 2005, I've seen technologies advance, outlets for music come and go, and most of all... seeing algorithms become responsible for censoring what we can say and what can be seen on the popular social media platforms.

If you create music, let's hear it.  If you have news, let's report it...and if you have an opinion, share it.

For contact and submission info:  Jeff@TexasOnlineRadio.com
For sending music files: TexasOnlineRadio@gmail.com

As I get the various technologies figured out once again, please bear with me as I make this the best outlet possible for music, news, information and opinion.  With this site, the social media platforms and now being formatted for mobile devices, our reach right off the bat will be close to 10k people per month.  With that in mind, advertising and marketing packages will be available in the near future.

Someone very close to me offered a few words of encouragement,
"Just sit down and start writing, then just turn on the mic and start talking."

Here we are and here we go!  Let's do this!!

Thanks for visiting, and thank you for your support!  If you have any content ideas, or would like to write your own feature articles, let me know.

Follow on Facebook @  Texas Online Radio  and Twitter @ TxOnlineRadio

Jeff




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your email and submissions...

The new job here in South Texas has kept me really busy for the last several months now.  Working as operations/marketing for an oilfield services company start up has been exciting and time consuming.  I haven't been posting or producing podcasts as often as I'd like, but I will be back at it soon.

I'm working on some really neat things along with a possible syndication agreement with a terrestrial station to help spread the word about the best music/artists in Texas!  Stay tuned!

Jeff

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 5.26.2012

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"Singing Brakeman" dies
May 26, 1933
On this day in 1933, country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers, nicknamed "the Singing Brakeman," died in New York City at the age of thirty-five. Rodgers, born in Mississippi in 1897, worked as a brakeman on railroads throughout the South and learned songs from black railroad workers, who also taught him to play the banjo and the guitar. A severe case of tuberculosis, contracted in 1924, forced Rodgers to retire from the railroad. In 1927 he signed a contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company, and his records catapulted him to almost immediate fame. He recorded 111 songs altogether and sold twenty million records between 1927 and 1933. Rodgers enthralled radio, recording, and stage audiences with his performance of songs that seemed to catalogue the varied memories and experiences of small town and rural Americans. To seek relief from tuberculosis, Rodgers moved to the Hill Country and in 1929 built a $50,000 mansion in Kerrville, but left there to live in a modest home in San Antonio in 1932. Among the many performers who either knew or were influenced by Rodgers are Mance Lipscomb, Freddie King, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, Tommy Duncan, Kenneth Threadgill, and Bill Neely.

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"Goat-gland" doctor dies in San Antonio
May 26, 1942
On this day in 1942, John Romulus Brinkley, controversial medical charlatan, died in San Antonio. Although Brinkley never earned a diploma he was licensed by the state of Arkansas and set up a medical practice in Milford, Kansas. In 1918 he began performing his controversial "goat gland operation," designed to restore male virility and fertility by the implantation of goat glands. "Doc" Brinkley became extremely wealthy. In 1923 he constructed the first radio station in Kansas, KFKB, and in 1928 was attacked for diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medicines over the radio. Consequently, in 1930 he lost both his medical and broadcasting licenses. He responded by entering the governor's race, hoping to appoint new members to the medical board. He came extremely close to winning. In 1931 he received authority from Mexican officials to build a powerful transmitter at Villa Acuña, Mexico, across the river from Del Rio, Texas. Two years later he moved his entire medical staff and facilities to the Roswell Hotel in Del Rio. He used his station, XER, to entice his listeners to visit his clinic or buy an array of expensive gimmicks. Estimates are that he took in $12 million between 1933 and 1938. During this period his conspicuous display of wealth--a lavish mansion, expensive cars, planes, yachts, and diamonds--was second to none. In 1938 he moved his medical activities to Little Rock, Arkansas, but maintained his residence in Texas. About that time he lost a libel suit, fought numerous malpractice suits, and battled the Internal Revenue Service over back taxes. In 1941 he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

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Historic clash leads to unionization of Texas farmworkers
May 26, 1975
On this day in 1975, a confrontation occurred between union organizers and El Texano Ranch, in Hidalgo, Reynosa, Mexico. The event led to a spontaneous strike during which a ranch supervisor fired upon the strikers and their supporters. The strike lasted throughout the melon harvest and spread to the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle. Many strikers were arrested. As the strike continued, a core of Valley farmworkers supported the foundation of the Texas Farm Workers Union as a local that would be accountable to them. The TFWU was established under the leadership of Antonio Ordendain in August 1975.

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Travis estate advertises for return of escaped slave
May 26, 1837
On this day in 1837, the executor of William Barret Travis's estate placed a notice offering fifty dollars for the return of an escaped slave named Joe in the Telegraph and Texas Register. Joe, born about 1813, was one of the few survivors of the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, in which his master was killed. Accounts of Joe's departure from the Alamo differ, but he later joined Susanna W. Dickinson on the way to Gen. Sam Houston's camp at Gonzales. Joe was brought before the Texas Cabinet and questioned about events at the Alamo. He was then returned to Travis's estate near Columbia, where he remained until April 21, the first anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto. On that day, accompanied by an unidentified Mexican man and taking two fully equipped horses with him, he escaped. Presumably Joe's escape was successful, for the notice in the Telegraph and Texas Register ran three months before it was discontinued. Joe was last reported in Austin in 1875.
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posted - 5.26.2012  -  The Texas State Historical Association
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 5.25.2012

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Woman joins Union army in male disguise
May 25, 1861
On this day in 1861, Sarah Seelye enlisted in Company F, Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, under the alias Franklin Thompson. She was one of a number of women who disguised themselves as men to enlist in the Civil War. She had run away from home at age seventeen, disguised as a boy, to avoid an unwanted marriage. After enlisting in the Union army in 1861, she served for nearly two years as a male. Ironically, in her secret-service duty she penetrated Confederate lines "disguised" as a woman. She deserted the army and resumed life as a female in 1863. She later published a fanciful, but highly successful, account of her experiences in the army, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army (1865). She and her husband moved to La Porte, Texas in the early 1890s. On April 22, 1897, Sarah Seelye became a member of the McClellan Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in Houston. She was the only woman member in the history of the GAR.
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First meeting of Texas Division of United Daughters of the Confederacy
May 25, 1896
On this day in 1896, the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy met for the first time in Victoria. The United Daughters of the Confederacy was established in 1894 by the merger of state groups in Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Texas Division was organized by Kate Cabell Muse, who had earlier organized a local chapter in her hometown, Dallas. The Texas Division has been active in marking historic locations and holds annual memorial observances to remember not only Confederate veterans but veterans of all wars. The division formerly sponsored the Texas Confederate Home and the Confederate Woman's Home and each year awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to descendants of Confederate veterans. It also maintains the Texas Confederate Museum.
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American Academy of Arts and Letters honors black Texas poet
May 25, 1966
On this day in 1966, Melvin B. Tolson received the annual poetry award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Tolson, born in Missouri in 1898, was only fourteen when his first poem was printed. He began teaching English and speech at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, in 1924, and remained there for twenty-three years. Several of Tolson's poems were published in Modern Monthly and the Modern Quarterly in the late 1930s, and in September 1941 the Atlantic Monthly published his prize-winning "Dark Symphony," which was later set to music by Earl Robinson and performed by Paul Robeson. Tolson wrote a weekly column about black life in America for the Washington Tribune from 1937 to 1944. In the latter year his first collection of poetry, Rendezvous with America, made its appearance. In 1947 Tolson joined the faculty of Langston University in Oklahoma, where he remained until his retirement in 1964. Also in 1947, Tolson was named poet laureate of Liberia, inspiring his Libretto for the Republic of Liberia (1953). In his last book Tolson returned to the world of Harlem with The Curator (1965), the first part of a projected work, Harlem Gallery. He died in Dallas in August 1966.
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posted - 5.25.2012  -  The Texas State Historical Association
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Help us keep spreading the word about Texas music, news and information! Thanks!