Natural gas from several local wells faces an uncertain future until a municipal pipeline right-of-way can be resolved, according to Williams Production.
Williams’ pipeline business filed an application with Flower Mound last year in May to build a mile-and-a-half long pipe to pickup the gas from the wells for delivery to market.
That market actually includes residences and businesses in the area served by an existing Atmos utility pipeline that taps into the local energy production.
The town approved the project in October with the exception of a short easement that the company needs on the edge of the town’s fire station property on FM 1171 at Shiloh.
Williams says the route makes sense because it falls within an existing utility corridor where another pipeline already is in the ground.
“We can even install our pipe without using an open trench that would temporarily affect the surface,” says Steve Vogl, Williams’ right-of-way supervisor.
“With new technology, we can basically place the piping underground with a horizontal boring technique where it goes in on one side of the parcel and comes out on the other.”
After meeting the town’s financial request, Williams delivered a check and agreed to give the fire department access to a safety valve that can stop the gas if needed.
Williams then installed piping on either side of the fire station, based on the expectation that consent from the town council for the easement was forthcoming.
The wells the pipeline will serve have long been drilled and others are ready. All of them need to go online for Williams to meet various contractual commitments.
However, the final link in the pipeline puzzle remains unapproved, leaving the gas stranded in the ground and Williams and its royalty owners in a lurch.
“We want to work this out,” says Steve Vogl, Williams’ right-of-way supervisor. “We’re doing everything in our power to do so.”
Vogl is hoping that some additional clarity and compromise with regard to Williams’ original request may help.
“Our application called for three distinct pipelines, including this particular gathering line. The other two pipes would support our centralized site for water tanks and compressors that the town is studying.
“The gathering line is the only one that we need the consent on for the time being,” Vogl explains. “We can’t get wells hooked up without it.”
As for the other two pipelines, Vogl says his company is still seeking approval on the centralized facility concept, but understands the town’s interest to deliberate it more.
“We see this as two completely separate projects,” Vogl says. “I hope this clarification can make a positive difference with regard to the consent process on the gathering pipe.”
Flower Mound’s town council is scheduled to assemble on Jan. 21 to discuss energy-related topics.
“Ideally, we sure need the issue with the fire station right-of-way to be resolved on or before the meeting on the 21st or we’re going to be in a bind operationally,” Vogl added.
“We stand behind our centralized site concept whole-heartedly, but we’re willing to accept an easement from the council that only consents the gathering line right now.”