Company wants to drill for oil near Garyville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Staff Reporter

GARVYILLE — As fossil fuel prices continue to set records some residents of Garyville may benefit from the price increase.

In their latest attempt to capitalize on the parish’s mineral deposits, BTA Oil Producers of Midland, Texas, managers of 10 drilling sites in St. John the Baptist Parish, is focusing on a 400-acre parcel in Garyville that includes part of the Little Hope and Timber Mill subdivisions.

Residents on the parcel recently received a letter from a geological consulting firm Leon E. Comeaux and Associates alerting them to an application for a public hearing filed on behalf of BTA to Commissioner of Conservation James H. Welsh.

The hearing was granted by the Louisiana Office of Conservation and has been set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008 in the Hearing Room, 1st Floor, LaSalle Building, 617 North 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana at 9 a.m.

“I encourage everyone to go to public hearings as much as possible,” said Louisiana Department of Conservation manager Richard Burdon.

In the hearing BTA will seek to consolidate mineral rights in the area for the purpose of drilling a mineral well and will seek to establish themselves as the sole producer for the parcel, meaning no other company will be allowed to drill there.

David Comeaux of Leon Comeaux and Associates said the initial drilling is estimated to cost $3 milion to $4 million. Comeaux was quick to point out that if the hearing goes in BTA’s favor, further exploration of the parcel’s suitability for drilling will need to be undertaken before any work is done, and that, although unlikely, the parcel may prove to be dry.

In the event BTA is granted drilling rights, owners of the parcel’s mineral rights will receive royalties based on private negotiations with BTA.

It is unclear, however, who will receive royalties in the event of a mineral find.

“When you buy a piece of property the person selling it can either sell you the minerals or not,” said Comeaux. “In the case of subdivisions, the developers will retain the rights to the minerals for a number of years before relinquishing them.”

Mineral rights are not necessarily connected to land rights and in many cases the owner of the land located over the minerals is left out.

In the event of a mineral find royalties will be negotiated privately between property owners and BTA.