Gas pipeline plans pitched to county
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
Plans to transfer Weldon area natural gas customers from a Navidad Resources LLP pipeline to a CenterPoint Energy pipeline were presented to the Houston County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 28. Grant Farris, vice president of producer services for CIMA Energy, Ltd. explained CIMA Energy markets products for Navidad Resources. The pipeline discussed by Farris currently serves 10 customers. He said those customers are served by CenterPoint Energy but receive the gas supply from the Navidad pipeline. According to Farris, about 130 BCF (billion cubic feet) of natural gas product per month are burned in the area. Navidad Resources, not wishing to be in the residential business, has contracted with CenterPoint Energy to remove the Weldon customers from the pipeline and install a new gathering system for their gas supply, Farris said. A two-inch line will be installed for the Weldon customers. Farris explained Houston County became involved when the county granted a right-of-way (ROW) franchise agreement on March 25, 1968 for 50 years. There are seven years remaining on this ROW agreement. In addition to the Weldon switch-over, Farris said, Navidad Resources has agreed to acquire an 8.3 mile segment of which approximately 3.5 miles are under Houston County ROW. Farris said Navidad Re-sources completed a depth-to-cover survey showing the GPS coordinates and depth of the 8.3 mile line. The company also completed a guided wave test on the pipeline to test the integrity of the pipeline, including corrosion and wall thickness. They found the pipeline is still in excellent condition according to Farris. However, he said, they found some places that had less than 12 inches between the top of the road and the pipeline. Precinct 3 Commissioner Pat Perry commented that at one time there was only a three-inch separation, and Farris con-firmed that statement. Navidad Resources will be lowering three miles of the existing four-inch pipeline an additional 36-40 inches. They want at least 50 inches of cover over the pipeline, according to Farris. Farris said the remaining part of the pipeline will be inactive. He also said it should only take about a week or two to lower the pipeline, and people would have access to the road during construction. Farris assured the com-missioners court that all roads will be left in better shape after the work is completed. “Our intent is to leave the road in better shape than it is now,” he said. After this work is done, Farris explained, Navarro intends to move gas through its four-inch line to the TDCJ Eastham Unit where they will build a processing plant on the prison grounds. Farris’ presentation included the following requests from Navidad Resources: *Houston County to grant Navidad Resources a new “Placement Agreement” de-fining the ROW, utilizing the GPS coordinates of the previous depth-to-cover survey. *Houston County to grant an additional 15 years with a 10-year option to the new placement agreement from the existing franchise agreement. *Houston County to provide grader equipment and traffic control if necessary as the work is performed on the pipeline. Navidad Resources expects to spend in excess of $300,000 on the pipeline and related work, according to Farris’ presen-tation. Navidad Resources LLP also proposes to pay all attorney expenses for the county. Jim Allison and Bob Bass will be providing legal services for the county, according to County Judge Lonnie Hunt. Hunt said Allison and Bass suggested developing a side agreement so the county will be reimbursed for its legal fees. “If someone has a big issue with it, now would be a good time to bring it up for discussion,” Hunt said. “The big question is going to be whether the county is going to be willing to grant that 15-year extension of the agreement,” Hunt said. He cited concerns for safety of the area and road conditions. Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen cautioned the court to be “real careful” with the wording of any contract. He reported problems his precinct recently experienced with another company doing work in the winter when road conditions were bad and vehicles got stuck. “I learned a valuable lesson,” Kitchen said. Farris said his company wants to perform the proposed work as soon as the county is comfortable with them performing it. “Our preference is to do this right,” Farris said. Farris asked for a first draft of an agreement at the Jan. 10 Commissioners Court meeting.