Homeowners' FAQs

What is Shale Gas?

Shale gas is natural gas that is trapped within shale formations deep beneath the earth’s surface. These fine-grained, sedimentary rock formations can be a rich source of both petroleum and natural gas.

What is the Barnett Shale?                                                                                            

The Barnett Shale is the largest producing natural gas field in America, covering more than 5,000 square miles across 24 counties. Consisting of sedimentary rocks, it stretches southward from west Dallas, and extends as far west as Pecos County. The Barnett Shale contains nearly 40 trillion cubic feet of resources – enough energy to power Texas homes for more than 200 years.

How far will the drilling be from my home?                                                         

Horizontal and directional drilling enables North Texas producers to drill in urban areas while keeping a safe distance from homes, schools and businesses. While distance varies, most municipalities have strict drilling ordinances that require a minimum distance from existing structures. And before any construction occurs, every producer must undergo a thorough permitting process with local, state and federal regulating authorities.

How noisy will it be?

As with any large-scale construction project, there will be some noise. However, North Texas natural gas producers use proven sound abatement techniques, including sound wall systems and suppression blankets when necessary.  Learn more about our sound mitigation techniques here.  

How is my drinking water kept safe?

During the drilling process, multiple thick layers of steel casing and cement separate the wellbore from its surroundings – virtually eliminating the possibility of contamination to any freshwater zones. State water regulating agencies also perform regular inspections and require strict documentation about wellbore characteristics. Learn more about how your water is protected here.  

How is the air protected?

Producers in the Barnett Shale use the latest technological advances and best practices to protect the air quality in North Texas. Standard at all new drilling sites are low- or no-bleed valves, which drastically cut down on emissions. Producers also work closely with all regulating authorities to meet or exceed air quality standards. Learn more about the air is kept safe here.  

What will the drilling site look like?

Drilling sites vary based on the size of the project, but the average site is 3-5 acres and includes trailers, tanks, generators and drilling rig. While the rig is the most visible part of drilling operations, it is temporary and will be removed once drilling is completed. See an example of a rig site here.

How long does the drilling take?

Depending on the location and operator, site construction typically lasts 1-4 weeks. Setting up the rig and drilling usually takes about 2-3 weeks per well. To reduce the time on location, drilling crews work 24/7. Overall, the entire drilling process usually takes around 3-6 weeks. Once drilling is complete, the site is converted to a producing well site. This new pad site can be in place up to 50 years or more. 

How will communities be affected?

Producers in the Barnett Shale work closely with state and local highway departments to ensure public safety and minimize impact on streets and traffic routes. From the onset of the producing life of a well, maintenance and improvement inspections are routinely conducted. Should a site need to be plugged or abandoned, it is revitalized with various plants native to the area.

How far down does drilling occur?

The average depth of drilling in the Barnett Shale is 1.5 miles below the surface. Target formations are at least 1 mile deeper than the Trinity Aquifer, North Texas’ primary water supply well, which at no point extends more than 1,000 feet below the surface.

Will the air smell?                                                                                                       

Natural gas is almost completely odorless after being processed. If you smell an unusual pungent gas or petroleum smell, this could indicate a gas leak.  Though extremely rare, if you suspect a gas leak, immediately call the local authorities and evacuate the area.

How do I know if I should receive royalty payments?                                           

Royalty payments begin when your property is placed in a producing unit – meaning if the natural gas is produced and sold. You will only receive royalty payments if an existing mineral rights lease agreement is in place.