Railroad Commission To Start Bidding Cleanup of Forest Cove Oilfields, Even as They Battle Thieves

When Noxxe Oil & Gas declared bankruptcy in February of this year, the company left behind dozens of pump jacks, tanks, trucks and other pieces of oilfield equipment that Harvey destroyed in Forest Cove. The Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) seized the assets but has been slow to clean up the mess. As a result, thieves and TRRC are now engaged in a low-stakes game of tug-of-war – to the victor goes the scrap metal. But the TRRC says it will soon start a cleanup of this site.

Vultures Picking Over Noxxe’s Bones

I ran a story several weeks ago about this heating tower on Marina Drive in Forest Cove. I’ve nicknamed Marina Drive “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” That’s because of the dozens of townhomes destroyed there by Harvey.

Towers like the one below separate oil, gas and water. I had photographed it several times. Then, about a month ago, I noticed it toppled.

The 23-foot tower in question before it toppled. Abandoned after Harvey, it became property of the state after Noxxe’s bankruptcy.

I thought the tower had “fallen.” But an astute TRRC investigator pointed out the steel wire draped over the top of the tank below.

It did not fall down. Someone pulled it down and attempted to drag it off. Photo taken in mid-September.
23 feet of 1.5 inch steel

After a couple cases of beer, I’m sure Jim Bob and Bubba felt this would be pretty light work. But the tower is made out of solid steel that is 1.5 inches thick – about the thickness of Jim Bob’s and Bubba’s brains put together. They had to abandon their efforts – until they got more beer.

Tower in a Tug of War

The thieves later came back and managed to drag the hefty tower into the middle of Marina Drive. See below.

It should be easy tracking down the thieves. Just look for oil stains on the carpet.

But according to the Railroad Commission, the tower weighs 6-8 tons.

Close up shot from the other direction.

“Think that will fit into the trunk, Jim Bob?”

The tower weighs more than two F150s plus a dozen rib dinners from Dickey’s. Translation: that ain’t fitting in the trunk…or a U-Haul, no matter how much beer they brought along. It would squash the tires like roaches.

When notified that the unit was blocking the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and putting dopers in danger, TRRC returned with a tractor and a winch. They tried to haul it off, too, but gave up when it nearly broke the winch. They determined that only a crane will lift it. So they pushed the heater treater back near its original pad. See below.

Back where it started. Photo taken 10/13/2020.

Art of Jungle Warfare Elevated

TRRC then mined the area with thousands of razor-sharp brambles; sweet-gum balls; and twisted, torn chain link fencing. Steel-toed shoes are no match. These defenses could even take out the tires of a dually.

Someone may yet steal this steel. But they will pay a heavy price. TRRC has taken jungle warfare to the next level. Ho Chi Minh could have learned a thing or two from the Railroad Commission.

Forest Cove Cleanup Now Named a Priority Project

According to Dean Southward, the TRRC District Cleanup Coordinator, Noxxe’s Forest Cove Properties have been elevated to the status of a priority project. The Commission’s budget has recycled and Southward says he will soon start bidding the cleanup. Forest Cove homeowners and Little League players will rejoice. Maybe we will hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing by Christmas.

In the meantime, folks, unless you have a very good chiropractor, stay away from the Noxxe Lease.

Thanks to Dan Huberty for his help in getting the TRRC to name this a priority.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/14/2020

1142 Days after Hurricane Harvey

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