More than three years after Hurricane Harvey, the storm’s destruction seems to keep widening. A helicopter flight down the West Fork of the San Jacinto this week revealed a recently toppled tank; abandoned equipment; and leaking, abandoned wells, one less than five feet from the river.
Recently Toppled Tank
The toppled tank, likely a dehydrator or separator, ripped pipes out of the ground when it fell and crashed through a fence. See photos below.
More Abandoned, Damaged Tanks
A hunt for more wells and tanks in the area revealed dozens that have been abandoned. Some have already toppled. Some are leaking. Most are rusting. Many have shifted off their foundations. And all are surrounded by abandoned equipment and weeds.
Abandoned, Leaking Wells
I also spotted 11 abandoned wells in the area east of Forest Cove Drive near the river, several of them leaking oil.
Property of the State
Noxxe Petroleum, the Company that owned most (if not all) of these wells and tanks, went bankrupt in February after lengthy legal battles with the State. Those battles started even before Harvey. As early as 2009, shortly after incorporation. Since the company’s bankruptcy, the State has seized the wells and equipment. And the company lost its charter in a tax forfeiture.
Railroad Commission lists Noxxe as the operator on dozens of other wells that are NOT visible from the air. Many have already been plugged. But many are also listed as still operating even though the lease has been abandoned. And some of those, like the tanks are leaking oil.
This Harvey destruction is going to be a huge cleanup job costing millions of taxpayer dollars. The Railroad Commission said, however, that it could not start work on the property until its budget recycled in the fall. Fall is about a month away. Take note.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/12/2020
1110 Days since Hurricane Harvey