EagleRidge Operating will continue using gas-powered lift compressors on its gas wells until Dec. 1, but Mansfield will require 24-hour a day monitoring to make sure the company complies with the city’s ordinance.
The council voted 6-1 in favor of the variance. Mayor David Cook was the lone no vote against allowing the variance. However, Cook did add the last-minute amendment for continuous sound monitoring.
Dallas-based EagleRidge Operating LLC requested the extension so it can continue testing gas-powered lift compressors on various wells in the northwest sector of Mansfield.
EagleRidge first noticed a dramatic decline in natural gas production at 15 of its wells last year, as it went from 8 million to 2.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Low natural gas prices, trading about $2.10 per British thermal unit Monday, could make the wells economically unfeasible, according to Mark Grawe, executive vice president of EagleRidge.
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That prompted EagleRidge to try a new strategy, using small gas lift compressors that increase production on the wells. Last year, Mansfield granted a six-month variance to allow the compressors on a trial basis.
Grawe said the compressors have already improved production on three of the wells, but addition tests are needed on EagleRidge’s other wells.
Tamara Bounds urged the council to reject the variance request, saying EagleRidge should use electric lift stations as required by the ordinance.
“All you’re doing is kicking the can down the road so they won’t incur permanent installations costs,” Bounds said. “Electric lifts serve the same purpose.”
Lance Irwin called on the council to enforce its own ordinances, which prohibit gas-powered lift compressors. He invited everyone to listen to the noise in the Woodland Estates neighborhood.
“It’s getting louder. It’s already a little bit annoying,” Irwin said. “Please follow our ordinance. Give these people a break from the noise and the emissions.”
The wording of EagleRidge’s letter to the city alludes to the commercial feasibility of the wells, Bounds said. She called it a veiled attempt to threaten Mansfield’s ability to have local control over the matter.
The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 40 a year ago, reinforcing the fact that the Texas Railroad Commission supersedes city laws. H.B. 40 came about as a reaction to the Denton frack ban.
EagleRidge’s wells, which were in close proximity to homes, were the spark that got Denton residents to collect signatures for a petition that put the Denton frack ban on the ballot. Voters approved the ban in late 2014.
Once Gov. Greg Abbott signed H.B. 40 into law, the Denton frack ban was no longer enforceable.
It’s still unclear what constitutes commercially viable, though, City Attorney Allen Taylor said.
“We have no courts of record that have rendered a binding or controlling opinion on the implications of House Bill 40,” Taylor said. “It is clear that we are not as free to regulate oil and gas production and operation now.”
Taylor said EagleRidge is in compliance with the sound requirements of the city’s ordinance. Cook countered that the city’s ordinance requires electric compressors, therefore it’s not in compliance.
Cool jobs coming
AMC Warehouse, a Grand Prairie-based frozen storage and transportation company, won tax incentives and city assistance to extend the street in front of its property.
The company plans to build a 450,000-square-foot facility in four phases that will ultimately create more than 100 jobs, said Scott Welmaker, director of the Mansfield Economic Development Corp.
Mansfield authorized $1.5 million to extend Antler Drive south to FM 917, providing access to the 32-acre property to the west that AMC wants to develop in southwest Mansfield.
AMC will close on the land now that it has assurances that the road will be extended to provide access to the property, Welmaker said.
Big D Barbecue LLC will be remodeling to add more tables and increase capacity at the restaurant on Walnut Creek Drive. The bar will be relocated and the front windows will be taken out and replaced with roll up doors to create a patio ambience. The stage will also be moved with new lighting installed. The council authorized a $20,000 grant from the Historic Mansfield Reinvestment Zone to assist with the improvements.
Daycare gets second OK
The council approved a zoning change for The Learning Experience on second reading. The council voted 6-1 with Councilman Stephen Lindsey voting no. The facility is proposed at the northeast corner of Holland Road and Texas 360.
The council urged the developer to discuss possibly building a screening wall along the Lowe’s Farm fence line before the third and final reading. A natural gas easement complicates matters, but Cook said they should be able to find a solution.
Several residents complained that the shrubs that grew up along the fence haven’t been maintained.
In other news, Mansfield hired Freese & Nichols Inc. to update the Water and Wastewater Master Plan and Impact Fee schedule. The city will pay $272,000 for the work.