While Council Studies Gas Drilling Safety, Plan Commission's Taking One More Look At Another Proposal from XTO Energy

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Seems like just yesterday the City Plan Commission took up XTO Energy's second application for a specific use permit for gas drilling on city land -- this time along Camp Wisdom Road near Joe Pool Lake -- and quickly put off its decision for three months.

But that was November, and here we are three months later, and there she is back on the CPC's agenda for Thursday afternoon:
5. Z090-226(WE) An application for a Specific Use Permit for gas drilling and production on property zoned an R-7.5(A) Single Family District and an A(A) Agricultural District on the north side of W. Camp Wisdom Road, approximately 700 feet west of FM 1382 Highway.
As before, city staff's recommends approval for a ten-year period, though, of course, plenty's changed since last fall. The City Council's since extended XTO's first lease (now for a smaller chunk of Hensley Field), and Dave Neumann's pushed off their vote on that first SUP till October 19, after they've put together a study on gas drilling safety.

So, given the council's delay on that first application, what's a commissioner to do come Thursday?

"I can't imagine the CPC acting favorably on this case," Commissioner Bill Peterson told Unfair Park in an e-mail. "I believe that our only options are denial or [to] postpone indefinitely until the [city] council's requested study is produced." Of course, Peterson said that was just his opinion; I'm still waiting to hear back from Commissioner Mike Anglin, who first moved to delay the vote on this permit the last time, shares his similar thoughts after the jump.

While it may be wait-and-see for the council on XTO's first application, the city looks to be prepping itself for more gas drilling operations on city land, to judge by a public request for qualifications, or RFQ, that closed last week: "Gas Drilling Inspection Services and Technical Monitoring and Evaluation Services for Gas Drilling Activities in the City of Dallas." It's all in keeping with the "Gas Drilling and Production" section of the Dallas Development Code, but I'm still waiting to hear back from City Hall about what this timing means -- if they'll be hiring a consultant to inspect gas drilling operations while the City Council is deciding whether to allow gas drilling in Dallas at all.

The RFQ closed on February 9, but just for kicks, you can read the job description below.

Update at 5:26: Anglin just wrote back to share his thoughts. While the commission's going to do what it will, he says, "My own thinking at the moment is that a postponement of this second XTO case would be the wisest course." While the council takes its time to study the issue, Anglin writes, "I see no harm in slowing everything down."

BAZ1140 RFQ For Gas Inspection Services

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Average growth rates for natural gas drillers is 15%, so it's really quite hard to find a loser in this environment. I see the following companies outperforming the industry in 2008: Chesapeake (CHK), XTO Energy (XTO), Anadarko (APC), Helix (HLX), Transocean (RIG), Schlumberger (SLB). I am rating these energy stocks as market-perform based on valuation: Apache (APA), Halliburton (HAL), Noble (NE), Devon Energy (DVN), Southwestern Energy (SWN).


With Dave Neumann's lack of leadership to sponsor a task force to study this entire issue, word on the street is that residents will form their own study group. Neumann's apparently tied with the city manager who doesnt want scrutiny either. Wonder who's getting how much under the table. Whoreish behavior.

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