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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oil Field Activity Picks Up in Area

Drilling rig on the Davenport Ranch north of town in Fisher County.
Recent and planned activity by oil companies is fueling speculation that Roscoe and the surrounding area may be on the verge of an oil boom, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades, if ever. 

The rumors have been flying for a big part of this year, ever since the prices that oil companies pay local landowners for leases of mineral rights jumped to levels several times that of just a couple of years ago.  Three-year leases that formerly ran around $25-$50 per acre have jumped to $500-$600 per acre and include as much as 20%-23% royalties on producing wells. 

For some time, this area has been known to be sitting on sizeable reserves of oil and gas, but extracting it is not especially productive with traditional drilling methods.  However, recent improvements in horizontal drilling, known as “fracking”,* seem to be perfect for the local situation, and the current boom in the Midland-Odessa area may soon be extending eastward.

As a result, the Texas Railroad Commission has seen a recent increase in the number of drilling permits requested and approved for this area.

The oil field here, known as the Cline Shale formation, is on the eastern shelf of the Permian Basin and includes Nolan, Mitchell, Scurry, and Fisher counties.  Its major players are Devon Energy and its partner, Sumitomo Corporation of Japan, which recently bought 30% of Devon’s interest in west Texas fields for $1.4 billion.  

Devon will be the operator in their Cline Shale ventures, and Sumitomo will be the major financier, covering 80% of the drilling costs.  In April, Devon Energy announced plans to drill fifteen wells this year in the Cline Shale.

Other operators include Abraxas, Energen, Pioneer Natural Resources, Berry Petroleum, and Gulfport Energy.

Drilling has already begun with more on the way.  There are currently two horizontal wells underway on the Davenport Ranch north of Roscoe in Fisher County, plus one on the Spires Ranch and two on the 69 Ranch, all near Maryneal.  There may be more, but these are the ones I know about. 

I am told that the success of these first wells will largely determine the amount and speed of subsequent drilling in this area.  Only time will tell how this all plays out.

* “Fracking,” short for hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water into a well to create or enlarge cracks in rocks deep in the earth to force them further open.  This allows more oil and gas to be extracted. 

The process requires large amounts of water, which drillers are willing to pay top dollar for, and certain area landowners have already begun or will soon begin creating fresh water pits, which they fill with water from their existing wells and sell to the drillers.  

Environmentalists complain about fracking, its waste, and the potential for ground water contamination, but Allan Frizzell, district vice president for the Texas Oil & Gas Association, says that the depth of the proposed wells in the Cline Shale, 5000-7000 feet, means that groundwater resources will be safe.




Irion County celebrated its homecoming with a 40-0 destruction of the Plowboys in Mertzon on Friday night.

The Plowboys were out of the game from the outset as Irion County scored on two of its first three offensive plays.  The Hornets’ Logan McGee returned the opening kickoff 77 yards to the Plowboy 10-yard line, and Dontae Harris ran it in from there on the first play from scrimmage. Two extra points followed and the score was 8-0. 

After the ensuing kickoff, the Plowboys had a three-and-out and punted.  The Hornets took over on the Plowboy 30, and on the next play freshman Reb Sullenger ran it in for another TD, and the rout was on. 

By the end of the first quarter, the score was 20-0, and by halftime it was 34-0.  The Hornets made another TD in the third quarter to close out the scoring, as the fourth quarter was a scoreless affair played by the subs, just like last week when the Plowboys played De Leon. 

For the evening, the Plowboys had a total of 8 yards rushing on 24 carries. The passing game was a little better with 96 yards.  Out of 24 attempts, 15 were completed and 2 were intercepted.  Irion County totaled 259 yards rushing and 79 passing.  

The Plowboys will play their first game on the new Astroturf of Plowboy Field on Friday night against the Miles Bulldogs.

Kickoff is at 7:30pm.



Paul Sadler
Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham will host U. S. Senate Candidate Paul Sadler at lunch today in the Lumberyard, and the public is invited to come by and meet Sadler there. 

Sadler, a former teacher and Democrat who is running against Ted Cruz in the upcoming election, has served as the leader of the multi-state Wind Coalition and, according to the Sweetwater Reporter, played an important role in bringing development to this area through wind energy projects and transmission infrastructure.

He is a former state legislator and Chair of the House Public Education Committee.



VP Tire & Service on E. Broadway
VP Tire & Service on 702 E. Broadway will be celebrating the completion of its first year of business on Monday, September 17, by giving away free brisket sandwiches to show  appreciation to its many customers. 

The sandwiches will come with chips and a drink and will be available between 11:00am-2:00pm.   For more information, contact David Pantoja at 325-280-1917.



Last Friday was a day of extremes.  Continuing the triple-digit weather of last week, its high was 103°F, but then a norther with high winds arrived that evening, and the temperature dropped to a cool 59°.  The high on Saturday was only 76°. 

Since then it has slowly warmed back up.  Yesterday’s high was 93°, and today should be about the same.  However, another front is on the way which should arrive tomorrow afternoon sometime.  It will bring another drop in temperatures and a 60% chance of thunderstorms.

The weekend should be cool and clear with a high on Saturday in the seventies and on Sunday around eighty.  Lows should be around sixty.



Graveside services for Hazel May Dunlap, 93, formerly of Roscoe, were held at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 7, at the Roscoe Cemetery. She died last Wednesday, September 5, in Colorado City.

Hazel May Hobbs was born May 25, 1919, in DeQueen, Arkansas, and married J.C. Dunlap on February 2, 1951, in Clovis, New Mexico. She was a homemaker and a Baptist.

Survivors include her son, Terry Barrington & wife Angie of Katy; daughter, Janis Inman & husband Wyndell of Colorado City; sisters, Jo Stautzenberger of Hereford, Fannie Utley of Sweetwater, and Sally Harrington of Snyder; 31 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband in 1985, her parents, Henry & Geneva Richardson Hobbs, three brothers, five sisters, and three great-grandchildren. 


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