After a protracted debate concerning a proposed on-campus drilling site that involved the city of Fort Worth, Chesapeake Energy, neighborhood and university officials, Chesapeake finally unveiled a plan that – for now – looks like it will satisfy all parties.
The “Meerkat to Seminary Plan” would allow Chesapeake to produce the minerals of some 5,000 acres, including those belonging to the university, a company spokeswoman said.
That means the university can lease its minerals without Chesapeake having to construct nearby rigs to reach them. Though the plan has yet to be finalized, it serves as a vast improvement over previous proposals.
First of all, it satisfies the concerns of nearby homeowners who don’t want noisy and, some fear, dangerous, installations a mere football-field distance from homes. Instead, an alternate rig to the southeast of campus near Granbury Road will access the minerals.
Peace of mind is a quality any homeowner wants in his or her neighborhood, and maintaining a good relationship between these residents and the university is essential for keeping a high profile in the community.
Additionally, the plan allows the university to tap into substantial gas revenues. No matter how big the endowment is, it never hurts to have more money flowing in, especially if some of the revenues can be put to use in the form of financial aid, sustainable energy products or other methods of improving the student environment.
Although having a drilling site near campus would have been beneficial for students in the Energy Institute and for others hoping to gain knowledge of an increasingly essential part of the local economy, opportunities for partnerships still exist for students and energy companies. Overall, the benefits of accessing the minerals from afar outweigh the potential drawbacks.
Editor-in-chief Max Landman for the editorial board.