Berry Oil is one of the companies that has been pointed out time and time again by residents in Gardendale. Now, for the first time, they're speaking on camera about proactive measures they're taking to work with the residents, landowners, and everyone that's being impacted by their drilling operations in this small West Texas community.
"I think some of the opposition and concern was at the beginning where they didn't know what to expect from us. The whole idea of operators coming in and drilling there probably was a concern for people," said Jeff Coyle, Berry Oil.
But Coyle says they've taken a lot of steps to gain the communities trust. "We knew going in that we had an opportunity to try to set the bar higher and do some things beyond what state regulations require and show that Berry Oil is a good operator."
One of the strategies Berry Oil has put in place is a central gathering facility. "So when you think normally about a well site, you have a tank battery on the site. You have flares on the tank battery. You have trucks coming in and out. There's a lot of impact on a daily basis. So Berry's strategy was to centralize all of that in an area that's away from the most populated parts of Gardendale," said Coyle.
They're currently in the process of developing this central location . About half of the wells that Berry has completed are already tied in to the facility.
Coyle said the location will help in a number of ways. "It keeps trucks off the road. It reduces flares that people see because it puts them at the central facility if at all. And it generally keeps our day to day operations in a place away from where people are."
Another major concern Berry Oil has addressed is water. According to Coyle, "Berry has a contract with a wholesale water provider to pipe water in from Andrews and Gaines counties into Gardendale."
One of the biggest concerns of residents was a lack of communication. That has also been addressed with the creation of the Common Ground Gardendale committee.
"We have land owners, mineral rights holders needing to work together. So, the purpose of the committee was to bring all the different voices to the table and help us find common ground on these issues," said Coyle.
Through those committee meetings, the community has been able to address their concerns, one of those being H2S detection. Berry Oil donated half a dozen H2S monitors to the Gardendale Volunteer Fire Department.
Berry also donated $10,000 to the local emergency planning committee for a mass emergency notification system.
If you have any concerns that need to be addressed or if you want updated information on everything that's going on out in Gardendale, log on to http://www.commongroundgardendale.com/ .
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