Sunday, August 21, 2011

Drilling, baby, drilling

Behold the lead story in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer Metro section: Oil and gas drilling in Ohio sinks to low level, but boom expected soon.

For many of us in Ohio, the boom has already begun. Here's what it looked like yesterday about a half mile from my house:



All of the houses in that video were built when municipal laws prohibited drilling in residential areas. A few years ago, state legislation usurped home rule and now you can erect an oil derrick just about anywhere in Ohio.

The regulations governing the wells are strange and convoluted. You have to amass 20 acres of mineral rights (for most wells) in a collective "pool." They have to be contiguous, but that's about it. Hence, a property owner may have no say about a well going in 100 feet from their property line while someone a half mile away is in on the royalty pool. Add the phenomenon of horizontal drilling and things get really twisted. I was obliged to learn about all of it for this in depth feature I wrote in September 2009.

A voice enters the vid at about 1:20, but it's not the fellow walking towards me in the frame. It was a man who pulled up to the intersection of the side street next to where I was recording. The man pictured in the vid, however, seemed a bit miffed by my presence. As I was leaving he yelled this at me:

"This is good for everyone. This benefits everyone."

An operating well a few miles from the one in today's embedded video.

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11 comments:

Bill said...

Not pretty. Overhead power lines are ugly too. It is really a shame, though, that such a beautiful, well maintained, neighborhood, is spoiled by bad planning and ineffective government.

Erin O'Brien said...

You mean the Republicans of course, Bill, because it sure wasn't the lefties that put the state legislation in place.

You might also like to know that there are many many many urban oil rigs in Los Angeles. There's one site in West Hollywood that has 50 or 60 wells on it.

Bill said...

I can't argue with you on the responsible party. I know you have studied this subject. Yep, I've seen those rigs in So. Cal. I lived down there for a while. In spite of all of this, we still need the oil and the only solution is to drill for it or come up with a cheap, reliable source of energy. Solar panels and windmills won't cut it.

alphadog said...

Ah Erin, how many times do we have to have this discussion? You can dislike it all you want but it's not your property. Do you recall your response to me when I was bellyachin' about the golf course and bike path they jammed up against my property?

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill, that's exactly why I preach conserve, conserve, conserve.

Alph: Communities have zoning. You move next to an asphalt plant, that's your problem. The state came in and overruled local zoning.

Hence, even though the "asphalt plant" was illegal when these people bought their homes, now they have to tolerate it. Also, they often have to participate against their will via mandatory pooling, whereby the state forces them to sell out their mineral rights.

Bill said...

Erin: I'm beyond my peak earning years, so I conserve to save money. But, who am I to tell the family, building a 9100 sq ft house across the street, that they need to keep the A/C set at 80 in the summer? Production and consumption is what we need in our country. Oh yeah. Have more kids too!

alphadog said...

'Also, they often have to participate against their will via mandatory pooling, whereby the state forces them to sell out their mineral rights.'

Proving my point, once again, that the individual truly owns absolutely nothing. Everything that you think is yours is yours only at the pleasure of the government, our benevolent government.

Erin O'Brien said...

Actually, Alph, it's the oil and gas industry that drafted all the legislation and PER LAW occupies six of the eight seats of the committee that decides on mandatory pooling contests.

It's the oil and gas industry that profits from all of it. And in this case, it was the righties in the Ohio State Capitol that enabled the whole movement.

Frankly, if there were a more sensible and balanced approach to urban drilling, it wouldn't bother me nearly so much, but this was such an obvious gift to the oil and gas industry, it defies any definition of justice.

Rick Slark said...

Nuts!

Mike Lawless said...

What an erection!

Bill said...

Tax payers waste $535M on Solyndra. We DO need oil.