Oil and Gas Development

Oil and Gas drilling and the addition of Pipelines in the Town of Dish affects many people, as well as the environment. This page is designed to help the citizens of Dish and the surrounding area locate information on oil and gas development.


Q: What is the Barnett Shale?
A: The Barnett Shale is a large natural gas reserve that stretches underground across a 15 county area. It contains an estimated 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and is located approximately 1.5 miles below the surface. In recent years, advances in drilling technology have made it possible for energy companies to extract large amounts of natural gas from the Barnett Shale.

Q: How can I find out if a natural gas well permit has been obtained near my property or additional information about gas well drilling within our city limits?
A: If a gas drilling operator has requested a drilling permit within 1000 feet from your residence, you will receive a notification concerning the request.


Q: Can someone else own the minerals underneath my property? How can I tell if I own my minerals?
A: Yes - It is possible that the mineral ownership may be different than surface ownership. A deed/title search may be necessary for one to determine who actually owns the minerals under a piece of property.

Q: Will drilling affect the foundation of my house?
A: There is no documented evidence of drilling affecting foundations. Most foundation problems occurring in the North Texas area are a result of ground swell and contraction during alternating periods of wet and dry weather.

Q: What emergency plans are in place in case of an accident?
A: In the case of gas wells, it has been determined that one plan is not a viable alternative and that if a situation should arise, it should be handled based on the type of incident and the information available. An Emergency Response Plan is required as part of the gas well permit application.

Q: Can a gas well be placed on my property without my permission?
A: As a general rule, an operator would rather have the surface owner's permission before placing a well site on a particular property and will pay appropriate damage fees to the surface owners. Any other actions would be preceded by legal action involving the operator and the property owner.

Q: What can I expect when a company is going to drill in my area?
A: A sign will be placed near the proposed well site advising that a permit application has been approved. Additional notification may be required depending on setback distances to residential and/or public buildings. A pad generally 300' X 300' will be prepared and a drilling rig will move onto the location. The drilling rig will be on site for approximately 20 to 30 days actually "drilling" the well and running pipe into the open hole. After the well is drilled, the drilling rig will move off the site. The rig move and drilling is a 24 hour operation and is probably the noisiest part of the operation. Shortly thereafter, well "completion" will begin and a smaller portable rig will move onto the location. After completion operations, surface equipment will be installed along with appropriate fencing and gates. From this point there will be minimal activity on the location. Occasionally a small rig will be brought to the location for remedial work.

Q: Will someone be on the drilling site at all times?
A: During drilling operations there are personnel on-site 24 hours. Completion operations are usually conducted during the day, but personnel may be on-site 24 hours during a short flow-back period. If there are not personnel on-site (Operations or Private Security), then the site/equipment must be secured.

Pipeline Eminent Domain and Condemnation

Q: Does a pipeline operator or construction company have to notify the RRC before beginning construction on a pipeline?
A: Yes, the Railroad Commission must be notified when the construction involves a pipeline longer than one mile. Commission rules require the operator to file a pre-construction report 30 days prior to the commencement of construction. However, new construction on natural gas distribution systems of pipelines less than five miles are exempt from this reporting requirement.

Q: What is the typical width of a pipeline easement?
A: Unless specified in a right-of-way agreement, the standard easement is set by statute at a width of 50 feet (Texas Natural Resources Code, ?111.0194).

Q: How close can a pipeline come to my house or other permanent structure?
A: There are no minimum setback requirements concerning natural gas pipelines and structures. However, a hazardous liquids pipeline must be buried an extra 12 inches in addition the 36 inches/3 feet depth that pipelines must be buried at when installed, if the hazardous pipeline is within 50 feet of a permanent structure. Examples of hazardous liquid pipelines are any pipelines other than natural gas pipelines.

Q: How can I get a copy of a new construction report?
A: You can obtain a copy of a new construction report by calling the Safety Division at (512) 463-7046, or e-mailing to safety@rrc.state.tx.us.

Q: Does a pipeline operator or construction company have to notify the RRC before beginning construction on a pipeline?
A: Yes, the Railroad Commission must be notified when the construction involves a pipeline longer than one mile. Commission rules require the operator to file a pre-construction report 30 days prior to the commencement of construction. However, new construction on natural gas distribution systems of pipelines less than five miles are

Q: How deep does a pipeline have to be buried?
A: A minimum of 3 feet depth. However, pipeline operators are not required to maintain this depth if erosion occurs after the pipeline's installation.

Q: Do all pipeline operators have the power of eminent domain?
A: Generally speaking, common carrier pipelines in Texas have a statutory right of eminent domain. Common carrier pipelines are operators that transport oil, oil products, gas, carbon dioxide, salt brine, sand, clay, liquefied minerals or other mineral solutions.

Q: Where can I get more information on pipeline easements, eminent domain, and condemnation proceedings?
A: A good source of information on these issues can be found at Texas A & M University's Real Estate Center's web site, at http://recenter.tamu.edu/pubs/. From that page, select a topic from the left side of the page, such as "Condemnation," or "Easements."

Q: How can we contact pipeline operators authorized by the Railroad Commission in Texas?
A: The Railroad Commission provides a listing of authorized operators on the Commission website (PDF) that is updated monthly. You can view the actual T-4 Permit in the Commission's searchable online application at http://rrcsearch.neubus.com/. Click here to view the instructions on how to search for T-4 Permits.

Q: What rights do I have as a landowner?
A: We suggest that you review the Texas Landowner's Bill of Rights published by the Texas Attorney General's office.


Information presented in this publication is considered public information (unless otherwise noted) and may be distributed or copied. While the Town of Dish makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data such as names, websites, telephone numbers, etc. may change prior to updating. The Town welcomes suggestions on how to improve this publication and correct errors. The Town provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data.

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