Tag Archive for: Noxxe

Oil Field South of Forest Cove Little League Fields Producing Again

The Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) had been making good progress on cleaning up the abandoned oil field between the Forest Cove Little League fields and the San Jacinto West Fork. However, it recently stepped back from the job when the mineral owners signed an agreement with a new operator to acquire several orphan wells.

Harvey’s Toxic Legacy

Floods from Hurricane Harvey destroyed the field and then the operator at the time, Noxxe Oil & Gas, went bankrupt. The company with a joke name (Exxon spelled backwards) turned out to be anything but a joke. It left behind a toxic legacy on the shores of Lake Houston, the source of drinking water for more than 2 million people.

New Activity Spotted at Site

A company called Southcoast Production, Inc. recently put a sign up at the entrance and began taking heavy equipment into the site.

From the air, I spotted what appears to be a workover rig pulling pipe at one of the old well sites.

The rig photographed yesterday was apparently pulling corroded pipe.
Photo from May 26, 2021 shows location of new work.

Huge Improvement, But Some Work Yet to Do

When the new operator took over the lease, the TRRC ceased its cleanup and plugging operations to let the new operator bring the site into compliance. The cleanup isn’t quite done yet. But whoever has been cleaning this site up, it looks and smells far better than it did last year.

“Before” photo from June of 2020.
Photo taken 11/1/2021 of same area but with wider lens.The blue/green storage tanks in the upper right are new.

Turning the Pumps Back On

Centerpoint recently brought electricity to the site so Southcoast could begin operating pumpjacks again.

It’s good to see someone taking responsibility for this oil field. In its post-Harvey condition, it was an environmental catastrophe.

Thanks to the TRRC and State Representative Dan Huberty for helping to accelerate the cleanup effort.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/2/2021

1526 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Railroad Commission Plugs Three Abandoned Wells Near Forest Cove Townhomes

This week, the Railroad Commission of Texas finished plugging three abandoned oil wells in the Forest Cove townhome complex near Marina and Timberline Drives. The Commission cited the owner for leaks in the past. However, the owner, Noxxe Oil & Gas, went bankrupt in 2020. That put the responsibility for remediation on the Railroad Commission. The Commission began plugging earlier this month and finished in this location on Wednesday afternoon. See photos below.

About Plugging

The National Petroleum Council says that a well is plugged by setting mechanical or cement plugs in the wellbore at specific intervals to prevent fluid flow. The plugging process usually requires a workover rig and cement pumped into the wellbore. The plugging process can take two days to a week, depending on the number of plugs to be set in the well.

Oil and gas can not only seep up through the well’s pipe, but also through the annulus. The annulus is the area between the outside of the pipe and the surrounding earth. Therefore, plugging often involves perforating pipe and forcing cement into the annulus, too.

First of three wells being plugged. Photographed on Sunday May 9, 2021. The larger townhome complex in the background was torn down on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
Pump jack from second well ready to haul away. Photographed on May 26, 2021. Note West Fork bridge in background.
Railroad Commission contractors plugging third of three wells near townhomes on Wednesday, 5/26/2021 at 8am.

Pumpjacks like the one above represent a form of “artificial lift. They give nature a hand when pressure in the well cannot bring oil and gas to the surface by itself in produceable quantities.

Photo taken at noon on May 26, 2021. Contractors packing up. Note location of previously demolished townhomes to left of rig and top center. Water in foreground is the San Jacinto West Fork.

Plans For Rest of Wells Remain Unclear

The Railroad Commission has not returned multiple calls or emails regarding its plans for other Noxxe wells near the Forest Cove little league fields. Earlier this year, the Commission said that someone might buy those wells and try to produce oil from them, using the tanks already on the property.

Approximately 10 wells remain on the portion of the old Noxxe lease between the Forest Cove Little League fields and the San Jacinto West Fork at the top of the frame. Photo taken on 5/26/21 around noon.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/28/2021

1368 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Flood Notes: Quick Updates on Multiple Flood Related Topics

Below are updates on seven flood-related topics from around the Lake Houston Area and Texas.

Plugging of Noxxe Wells in Forest Cove Delayed

Peter Fisher of the Texas Railroad Commission reports that its Oil & Gas Division is about eight to 10 weeks away from plugging the NOXXE wells in Forest Cove. Noxxe abandoned the lease when Harvey cleanup costs forced the company into bankruptcy. The Commission’s General Counsel notified Fisher on March 4th that another operator is attempting to take over the NOXXE leases.  “At this time we do not know for sure which wells they are interested in.  Therefore, we are currently in a holding pattern on plugging the NOXXE wells,” said Fisher. TRRC has already finished cleanup of the rusting tanks in Forest Cove, but several wells still appear to be leaking based on aerial photos that show oil on ponds and in the public water supply.

Black substance in West Fork/Lake Houston stretched for about a half mile on December 7, 2020, next to one of many abandoned Noxxe wells.

Texas GLO and Houston Declare Truce for Time Being

Last year, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) tried to claw back funds allocated to the City of Houston for several Harvey-related disaster assistance programs. Why? The City fell seriously behind deadlines, even as the reimbursement program was expiring. Then the two sides reached a settlement and the City took back some programs. Houston will continue to administer $835 million in programs – Homeowner Assistance (reimbursement program), Single Family Development, Multifamily Rental, Small Rental, Homebuyer Assistance, Buyout, Public Services and Economic Revitalization Programs.

However, the GLO included strict program benchmarks with language that includes: “Program Benchmarks: Subrecipient’s failure to achieve a Program Benchmark in the Subrecipient Agreement may result in the termination of the Program and/or funds being removed from the Contract, at the GLO’s sole discretion.” HUD’s rules include that funds be expended – not allocated – by August 2024, plus one more year for close out, or else HUD will retain the funds.

City’s Homeowner Assistance Applications

In the meantime, the GLO is keeping the City’s Homeowner Assistance Program. Many who first applied through the City have been caught in limbo due to missing, incomplete and poorly formatted documents.

On December 30, 2020, the GLO received 48,000 documents that had no discernable naming conventions, were not grouped by applicant, and were mostly unsearchable. The GLO had to open each document to determine which applicant it belongs to and file accordingly. On January 27, 2021, the GLO received a transfer of additional files that appear to be mostly environmental assessments, but once again, were not organized. The GLO has sorted the files from the City of Houston and the GLO team is contacting applicants to request missing or outdated documentation to move them towards construction.

We received data for 7,176 files, but nearly half had none or only one of the documents needed for a complete application to achieve HUD eligibility. “We are in the process of contacting all applicants to determine which ones still wish to participate and request the documents we need to complete their files,” said a GLO spokesperson.

Court Reverses Air Quality Permit for APO

Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining announced that on March 5, a district court in Austin struck down an air-quality permit for a quarry. Alabama-based Vulcan Construction Materials needed the permit to proceed with a controversial project.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had initially granted the permit in 2019 after two years of heated legal wrangling between Vulcan, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, and an alliance of Comal County citizens, community groups and Comal ISD.

459th Civil District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled that:

  • TCEQ’s assertion that the quarry would not harm human health or welfare was not supported by evidence.
  • Vulcan’s emissions calculations were not representative and not supported by substantial evidence.
  • Vulcan’s air quality analysis did not account for cumulative impacts or emissions from the quarry and roads.
  • Vulcan’s choice of background concentration was arbitrary or capricious.
  • In the contested case hearing, the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) judge erred in allowing Vulcan to hide behind “trade secret” claims.
  • Plaintiffs were denied due process when the SOAH judge allowed Vulcan to conceal data using the “trade secret” excuse and did not allow plaintiffs to cross-examine Vulcan.

Vulcan’s proposed mining operation in the Texas Hill Country would stretch across nearly three miles of the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, the primary water supply for over two million people in New Braunfels and San Antonio.

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Punts on Subsidence Again

After several filibusters, the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board again deferred publicly adopting a position on subsidence or approving the second half of its subsidence study in a mercifully brief March 9th meeting. The District’s general manager and counsel are reportedly querying stakeholders on the subject. But time is running out before GMA-14 meeting. The LSGCD may have to call a special meeting before the next GMA-14 meeting on April 9th to resolve those issues. It will be interesting to see what they come back with. Simon Sequeira, of Quadvest, one of the largest independent water pumpers in the county is a stakeholder.

Kerr County Commissioners Support Best Management Practices for Local APOs

The adoption of best management practices by sand mines in the San Jacinto watershed has been a legislative goal of area groups since Harvey. It was during Harvey that floodwaters swept through mines and flushed sand downstream where it contributed to the flooding of thousands of homes and businesses. Now the Hill-Country group, Texans for Responsible Aggregate Management reports they have achieved a victory of sorts.

On March 1st, 2021 the Kerr County Commissioners’ Court unanimously passed a resolution supporting TRAM’s legislative goals, as well as a resolution encouraging Kerr County APOs to adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs) in order to minimize adverse health effects and nuisance issues. The resolution was sparked by concerns over West Texas Aggregate LLC’s desire for a permanent rock and concrete crusher facility near the airport east of Kerrville.

LCRA Adopts Commercial Dredging Moratorium on Highland Lakes

On February 24, 2021, The Lower Colorado River Authority Board of Directors adopted a one-year moratorium prohibiting commercial dredging on the Highland Lakes until new rules are established. This action states that LCRA will not review pending permit applications such as the Collier Materials Inc. permit application for commercial dredging on the Llano River and cancelled the public meeting scheduled for March 10, 2021.

The Board determined that new rules are necessary to address commercial dredging projects and their potential impact on water quality, aquatic life and public safety on the lakes. Over the next year, LCRA will review potential water quality impacts of commercial dredging, coordinate with other entities, and conduct a robust public and stakeholder input process.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/18/2021

1297 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Noxxe Oilfield Cleanup Starts Tomorrow in Forest Cove

Dean Southward, a spokesperson for the Texas Railroad Commission, confirmed today that cleanup of the toxic mess left behind by Noxxe Oil & Gas near the West Fork in Forest Cove will begin tomorrow. Noxxe abandoned its lease after Harvey flooded the entire field, toppled tanks, and destroyed the stripper-well operation.

The Railroad Commission tried unsuccessfully to get Noxxe to clean up the site for 2.5 years. After Noxxe declared bankruptcy in 2020, the Railroad Commission seized Noxxe’s remaining assets. Aerial photos show those include abandoned tanks, wells, pipe, vehicles, and more. Now the cleanup becomes their responsibility and it will be no small task. See below.

Photos Taken January 1, 2021, Before Start of Cleanup

Abandoned Noxxe well, rusting tanks and a toppled heater treater near Forest Cove Townhomes also destroyed by Harvey.
Another portion of Noxxe’s field lies between the West Fork and the Forest Cove little league fields. The noxious stench of spilled crude could be smelled from the fields and surrounding homes.
The Railroad Commission intends to plug all the abandoned wells.
The site contains about twenty tanks which can be auctioned or cut up for scrap metal.
Topless tanks without netting over them exposed area wildlife and bird to danger.
Home or office on the lease, also destroyed by Harvey. The company also left behind at least two campers.
Closer to the river, Noxxe left behind another well, a drilling rig, a communication tower and five more tanks, two of the toppled. Water on this site is suspect. Aerial photos taken after Harvey show oil swirling in the river.

Thanks for the cleanup go first and foremost to the Texas Railroad Commission, monitors more than 440,000 oil wells in the state. Thanks also go to State Representative Dan Huberty who helped accelerate the schedule once he became aware of the problem.

Noxxe may have a joke name – Exxon spelled backwards. But the mess left behind by the company is no laughing matter. Residents and kids who play baseball in Forest Cove will soon breathe a lot easier.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/18/2021

1238 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

January Digest of Flood-Related News in Lake Houston Area

From construction developments to political developments, here’s your January digest of ten stories that could affect flooding or flood mitigation in the Lake Houston Area.

1. New Caney ISD High School #3

This site is located between Sorters-McClellan Road and US59 south of the HCA Kingwood Medical Center. New Caney ISD is building a new high school on the site of the old par 3 golf course behind the car dealerships that front US59. Construction crews are still pouring concrete for foundations and parking lots. Not much happened between flyovers on December 7 and January 1. But then, not much happens anywhere during the holidays. The two photos below show the progress. Construction of the detention pond is nearing completion. However, contractors still need to plant grass to reduce erosion before spring rains arrive.

New Caney ISD High School #3 site as of December 7, 2020
As of January 1, 2021.

New Caney ISD has not posted a project update since last September. Projected occupancy for the building is still Fall 2022.

2. Kingwood Cove Golf Course Redevelopment

I first talked about Ron Holley’s redevelopment of the Kingwood Cove (formerly Forest Cove) Golf Course in April last year. Since then Holley says he has been working with engineers, community groups and regulators to accommodate different interests.

Now, the development is back on the planning commission agenda for this Thursday. Holley is seeking approval of his latest General Plan and Plat. Neither show any detention ponds. The only place they could go would be in “Reserve C.” The General Plan shows that to be in the floodway and 100-year floodplain. Both could soon expand.

The West Fork floodway cuts through the southern part of Holley’s property.

The City raised an issue regarding compliance with regulations governing the re-plat of golf courses at the 12/17/2020 Planning Commission meeting. The City requested information relating to Local Government Code 212.0155.

That regulation requires, among other things, that:

  • Public notice of the re-plat be printed in newspapers
  • The Forest Cove Property Owners Association is notified
  • Residents have an opportunity to voice their opinions at public hearings
  • Owners of all properties within 200 feet of the new plat be notified in writing via US Mail.
  • If 20% of the owners object, the re-plat must win the approval of 3/5ths of the planning commission.
  • The developer proves there is adequate existing or planned infrastructure to support the new development.
  • The new subdivision will not adversely affect health, safety traffic, parking, drainage, water, sewer, or other utilities
  • The development will not have a materially adverse effect on existing single-family property values.
  • The new plat complies with all applicable land-use regulations and restrictive covenants and the City’s land-use policies.

That’s a lot to do over the holidays. So the general plan may need to be withdrawn and resubmitted after all the information has been produced. We should know more by Wednesday afternoon.

3. Dredging

Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s January newsletter stated that Disaster Recover Corporation has removed 385,000 cubic yards from the West Fork Mouth Bar out of an estimated total of 400,000 cubic yards.

Then he alluded to dredging another 260,000 cubic yards from the area north of the mouth bar.

He also alluded to a Second Phase: dredging the San Jacinto East Fork and other locations in Lake Houston.

Finally, Martin discussed maintenance dredging. “Additionally,” he says, “during Phase Two of the project, City of Houston, Harris County, HCFCD, SJRA, and Coastal Water Authority (CWA) will develop and execute a plan for the City of Houston or CWA to assume long-term dredging operations on Lake Houston. This effort will include determining funding for dredging operations in perpetuity.”

4. Appointments to SJRA Board

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Wil Faubel and Rick Mora, M.D. and reappointed Kaaren Cambio to the San Jacinto River Authority Board of Directors. Their terms will expire on October 16, 2025. 

Kaaren Cambio of Kingwood is a field representative for United States Congressman Dan Crenshaw. She is a former member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Investment Recovery Association, Pipeline Contractors Association, and the Houston Pipeliners Association. Cambio received a Bachelor of Business Administration from San Diego State University.

Wil Faubel of Montgomery is President of Borets US Inc. He is a veteran and senior executive in the Oilfield Services industry with more than forty years of service. He has both domestic and international experience and is a lifelong member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a former board member of the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association. Faubel received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University.

Rick Mora, M.D. of The Woodlands is a partner at US Anesthesia Partners and Chief of Anesthesiology for Memorial Hermann Pinecoft Surgery Center. He has served as chair of the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a founding Board member of the non-profit, Los Doctores de The Woodlands. Mora received his MD from the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine.

5. Forest Cove Townhome Buyouts

Harris County Commissioner’s Court will vote today on an item to exercise eminent domain on seven townhomes in the Forest Cove complex. The entire complex was destroyed after Harvey and many owners simply walked away from their properties without leaving forwarding addresses. Flood Control has been unable to find the owners after years of trying. Several may have moved out of the country. Eminent domain on these last few properties will clear the way for demolition of the entire complex and restoration of the area to nature or park land.

The once proud and idyllic townhomes in Forest Cove next to West Fork.

6. Woodridge Village

The purchase of Woodridge Village from Perry Homes is not on today’s Commissioner’s Court Agenda. However, all energies are reportedly still positive. It’s just taking time to work out the complex three-way purchase arrangements.

7. Romerica

Houston PlatTracker shows that the Romerica people may have acquired more land. But so far, they have not returned to the planning commission for approval on the latest iteration of the developer’s plans. No news is good news in this case.

8. Lake Houston Spillway Improvement Project

The City is close to finalizing the Preliminary Engineering Plan. Sources say the benefit/cost ratio looks very positive. We may see the final recommendations this month.

Engineers have examined several alternatives to add more gates to the Lake Houston dam or to increase its spillway capacity.

9. Noxxe Cleanup

The Railroad Commission could start plugging wells, removing storage tanks, and cleaning up the abandoned Noxxe lease in Forest Cove soon. The project manager has submitted work orders for final approval.

Small part of Noxxe lease next to Forest Cove baseball fields.

10. Kings Harbor New Construction

New condos are going up in Kings Harbor faster than Flood Control can tear down the ones in Forest Cove down. And they’re even closer to the river!

See new concrete pads (left center) and new construction (right foreground).

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/5/2020

1125 Days after Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

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

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Close-Up Photos of Noxxe’s Devastation

The oil and gas company with the joke name (Exxon spelled backwards) is no joking matter. After flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Noxxe left a mile-long trail of devastation in Forest Cove for taxpayers to clean up. The company’s toxic legacy includes dozens of abandoned wells, toppled tanks, and twisted, rusting, ruptured pipes – all in the floodway of the San Jacinto River West Fork, which supplies drinking water to two million people.

Meeting with Texas Railroad Commission

After a series of posts on this subject, I received a call from the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC). TRRC took control of Noxxe’s operation after the company went bankrupt in February.

Sign posted on entry to Noxxe lease

The Commission’s District Cleanup Coordinator invited me to tour the site with him and discuss the status of cleanup. There’s good news and bad.

Good News

  • Tanks have been drained of toxic chemicals.
  • Some wells have been plugged.
  • TRCC believes the oil spilled on the ground will degrade naturally.
  • A small check dam should keep oil-contaminated rainwater from washing into the river (except in floods).

Bad News

  • Many of the wells have NOT been plugged.
  • Oil has spilled on the ground.
  • Rusting, oil-covered equipment litters the property.
  • Legally, the state has no recourse against the company’s management or the property owners.
  • The State Comptroller’s Office has taken over bidding for cleanup jobs like this, but reportedly has no specialists in toxic waste cleanup.
  • The Comptroller’s Office has reportedly established an “approved vendor list” for these jobs, but the list doesn’t have enough vendors to handle all the work needed in the State.
  • TRRC has no budget to handle the Noxxe job and may not get it.
  • Thieves steal equipment with salvage value.
  • Brine (saltwater produced with oil and gas) has contaminated many parts of the site, killing vegetation.

Ground-Level Photos

These photos represent only a small portion of the site. But I’m sure you get the picture.

Editorial Opinion

Texas and Texans make their living from minerals. But left like this, those minerals may be the death of us, too. Noxxe has given a black eye to the entire oil and gas industry, which has thousands of reputable companies and millions of hard-working people in Texas.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/26/2020

1125 Days after Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

More Harvey Destruction Becomes Apparent

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.

Tank on right BEFORE it fell. Photo taken 6/27/2020. Tank was already leaning in the direction it fell. See photos below.
Photo of same tank (upper left) taken on Friday, 9/11/2020. Abandoned townhomes in foreground on Marina Drive, which curves in front of tanks.
Photo of same tank taken from ground level on 9/12/2020. Tank smashed through a fence when it fell.
Reverse angle shows base and ruptured lines. Note thickness of steel. This tank had to weigh thousands of pounds.

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.

This tank was lifted and shifted off its foundation by Harvey.
Note how tank on top right floated from its original position in flood.
More tanks floated off their original positions by Harvey.

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.

Abandoned wells by Marina Drive (right) and Aqua Vista Street (left) in Forest Cove near townhome complex destroyed by Harvey.

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.

Notice posted on gate of Noxxe lease.

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.

Source: Texas Railroad Commission. Noxxe is listed as operator on virtually all the “active” wells north of the river.

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