Gas Drilling FAQs

Why are gas wells being drilled in this area now?

Geologists have known about the Barnett Shale gas reserves for some time, but have only recently been able to use the technology of horizontal drilling to make drilling economically feasible. Market prices for gas also have an effect on the feasibility for drilling.

How do I know if I own mineral rights?

Looking at your deed or title should be your first step to find out if you own the mineral rights underneath your home. If you do not have the records, you can look at them at your county’s courthouse. The City is not involved in any mineral leasing on private properties.

What state agency regulates natural gas industry?

In Texas, the Railroad Commission regulates this industry as well as pipeline safety. For more information, call (512) 463-7288.

What is being done to protect the environment?

Prior to adopting an ordinance, City staff visited gas well sites, reviewed other ordinances, spoke with industry representatives, and contracted a petroleum engineer as a third party inspector. The ordinance requires that gas well drilling activities meet our noise ordinance, that all drilling muds are enclosed in tanks, that Emergency Response Plans are prepared, and that all possible safety measures such as well shut in valves are required. During drilling operations, there is always a watchman or crew on site.

Who reviews the gas well application?

Gas well applications are reviewed by staff from Public Health and Environmental Quality Department, Fire Administration, Engineering, Transportation, Planning, Public Works, and Legal. The Gas Well Inspector also reviews the application.

How is the ordinance enforced?

Gas wells are inspected three times during the drilling stage by our Gas Well Inspector and once annually thereafter. The City’s Gas Well Inspector is a third party petroleum engineer who conducts technical and safety inspections of the wells. City staff also conducts inspections periodically to ensure compliance with our ordinance.

How long does it take to drill a well?

Drilling times vary depending on the rig and the geology, but typically a well takes 20 to 45 days to drill and then an additional 30 to 60 days to fracture and complete the well for production. Once drilling has commenced, it is a 24 hour non-stop process.

What happens after the well is completed?

After the well is complete and gas is flowing, the property will be fenced and company representatives will come to the site on occasion to collect water that has been separated from the gas or to conduct maintenance.

What is the life of a well?

Wells typically produce gas for about thirty years. After the well is no longer in production, the well must be capped.

Who profits from wells drilled on private land?

Only the mineral owner and mineral lessee directly profit from drilling on private property. The City, County, and School Districts will receive monies from property tax increases on the wells as assessed by the County Appraisal District.

Who can I call if I have a question or complaint?

All questions can be answered by either the operator whose number is posted on the sign and website or the Public Health and Environmental Quality Department at (972) 237-8055.

More Information

For information on gas well operators, go to the Railroad Commission's website.