Vantage Energy has begun drilling natural gas wells in Foster Park neighborhood as the Wedgewood Gas Project gets under way.

The three wells are in the Southcliff Shopping Center at Interstate 20 and Granbury Road. The project is expected to be fully operational by mid-2012, according to the Wedgewood Gas Project website.

Vantage Energy plans to drill for natural gas under seven neighborhoods: Foster Park, Overton South, Wedgewood Central, Wedgewood Middle, Wedgewood Square, Wedgewood West, and South Hills, according to the project website.

Barry Osborne, Vantage’s Fort Worth Basin land and legal manager, outlined the company’s plans and what residents should expect, at a meeting of the Foster Park Neighborhood Association last month.

If the drilling proves productive, there is no predetermined limit on the number of wells Vantage may drill, Osborne said. He estimates the project will eventually have 12 to 15 wells.

"It’s in our best interest if we could put 100 wells in there," Osborne said," but we will only drill the amount of wells we can economically support."
For property owners, the appeal of gas drilling is royalty checks.

But Osborne cautioned that it is misleading to speculate on an expected royalty amounts because it creates rumors of financial promises that no energy company can guarantee. “The dissemination of misinformation is the biggest enemy to urban development and causes otherwise good and reasonable folks a lot of unnecessary angst about what we do,” Osborne said.

The project area will be divided into three sections with royalty checks given to all property owners in those sections, depending on the number of wells in their section, the rate of production, the size of their property, and the market price of natural gas, Osborne said. Checks can vary from month to month, and some property owners could see their royalties range from $10 to $100 depending on circumstances, he said.

Brenda Silcox, Foster Park Neighborhood Association vice president, questioned whether Vantage will follow through on everything it promised, including payments. A new, smaller company such as Vantage may not be as likely to keep promises that larger energy companies such as XTO and Chesapeake can, Silcox said.

Neighbors are not concerned about wells in the area; they are only interested in the financial compensation, Silcox said.

"If there is no money, you will probably see some very upset neighbors," Silcox said.

Chesapeake and Vantage have a joint operating agreement, both own wells in the project area and will share revenue based upon the amount of acreage leased to each company, respectively, Osborne said.

Property owners who entered leasing agreements with Chesapeake will receive royalty payments from them, and the same would apply to Vantage lessees who enter into an agreement, according to the project website.

Vantage recently sent out mailers to residents asking for support of the project, according to the Wedgewood Square Neighborhood Association website. Vantage leasing agreements are still pending, and the mailer requested signatures of approval to be mailed back.

Royalty checks will be sent in around three to four months after property owners sign off on the agreement, according to the project website.

The three wells at the Granbury Road site will undergo hydraulic fracturing after all components are put in place in early to mid-2012, according to the project website.

Plans for the property include a freshwater pond with a fountain to provide water for the hydraulic fracturing, while adding some aesthetic value to the drill site. Sound walls will limit noise.

If the three test wells prove economically efficient an underground pipeline will be installed to transport the gas to a main line outside of the Wedgewood area, Osborne said. The pipeline will be buried alongside Granbury Road and could go in as early as the beginning of 2012, according to the project website.

Once wells are hooked up to the main pipeline, gas can start being sold.

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