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Oil and Gas Development


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General Recommendations:

All oil and gas related activities should avoid, to the maximum extent practicable, impacts to sensitive areas. In general, impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation, marsh, oysters, and other structured habitats are of particular concern. Biological monitors may be required when conducting activities. Oil and gas related activities on state-owned submerged lands may be subject to requirements of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act (Natural Resources Code Chapter 40), which designates the General Land Office as the lead state agency for the prevention of and response to oil spills into Texas coastal waters.

All activities should be coordinated with the commenting agencies and should use Best Management Practices to avoid unnecessary impacts to sensitive areas. The following mitigation sequence may be applied during the evaluation of potential adverse impacts of a project: (1) avoidance of adverse impacts; (2) minimization of adverse impacts; and (3) compensation for unavoidable adverse impacts.

For information on Best Management Practices and guidelines to reduce the overall impact to the environments and facilitate permitting, please visit:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District construction guidelines: http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/Regulatory/ConstructionGuidelines.aspx

Definitions and Explanations

  • OA – Surface drilling may not be allowed.
    Directional drilling from off-tract locations may be required for mineral development of this tract. Sensitive areas dominate this tract, thus drilling activity may significantly damage the ecosystem.

  • OH - Drill in water deeper than 6 feet as measured from mean low water or from land above mean high water.
    This tract has deep-water (greater than 6 feet) areas and sensitive areas in shallow-water. Drilling activities may need to be confined to the deep-water areas or adjacent uplands.

  • OM - Pipeline and platform construction may be prohibited on top or near oyster reefs, hard substrate reefs, artificial reefs and banks.
    Construction activities may be prohibited or restricted within 500 feet of artificial or natural reefs, banks or hard bottoms to minimize damage caused by accidental discharges of hazardous substances, sedimentation, or physical impacts, and to protect fish and other organisms attracted to the area. A survey for the presence of reefs may be required.

  • OP - The use of high-velocity energy sources may be prohibited for performing geophysical surveys on top of or near oyster reefs, hard substrate reefs, artificial reefs and banks.
    Geophysical activities may be prohibited within 500 feet of artificial or natural reefs, banks, or hard bottoms to minimize impacts to reefs and to protect fish and other organisms attracted to the area. A survey for the presence of reefs may be required. A three-year recovery period is usually required between consecutive surveys over the same geographic area.

  • OR – No drilling within two miles seaward of the Gulf shoreline along the Padre Island National Seashore.
    Drilling activity within two miles of the Gulf shoreline along the Padre Island National Seashore is restricted to protect both the aesthetic and recreational values of the public beach. Access to minerals in the two-mile zone along the Gulf beach may be achieved by directional drilling from upland sites, if authorized by the National Park Service, or from submerged state tracts beyond the two-mile limit.

Links to Additional Resources

Contacts

George Martin
Landman
512.475.1512
George Martin