Friday, December 21, 2007

Natural Gas Drilling in National Parks

Natural gas deposits are often located in areas of magnificent beauty because they naturally occur within or underneath ancient rock formations, on land or underneath water, where fossilized plant and animal matter has been compressed and broken down over many millions of years. It then is no coincidence that many of these fertile areas are within the boundaries of protected national park areas in the United States. While debates continue on Capitol Hill over drilling bans or permissions within these sanctuaries, it could be helpful to look at instances where drilling and extraction of resources has successfully coexisted with picturesque beauty and protected status.

Texas has long been a fertile ground for natural gas and oil reserves. Its rich, though sometimes barren landscape possesses thousands of proven mineral and petroleum deposits that have been the state’s mainstay for economic growth over the past century and a half. One such area that has recently come under public scrutiny by environmentalists such as the Sierra Club and large oil outfits like British Petroleum is the protected seashore at Padre Island National Park located on the southeast tip of that great state, on the Gulf of Mexico.

Exploration and development of Padre Island’s cache of natural resources has been underway for many decades. In the late 1930s, Texas’ growing interest in development of its state’s natural reserves motivated legislators to send surveyor J.S. Boyle to the area. The first oil well was not constructed until a decade later, by Sun Oil Company at Yarborough Pass. The permission for this and other wells drilled by Sun was acquired through legislation proposed by Senator Yarborough of Texas, and Sun was the only oil company drilling on the National Seashore during the 50s and 60s. These oil wells produced small amounts of show, but very little commercially viable crude.

There are currently three natural gas producing wells in operation at Padre Island. These wells are under the close watchful eye of the National Park Service. Rangers help in monitoring to ensure a safe environment for the over 800,000 visitors who visit the park each year. The National Park Service describes their role in managing the park’s resources as a “commitment to previous property owners by ensuring their ability to recover the oil and gas mineral resources with a minimum of environmental consequences.” Since the lands which make up the park were previously private, the NPS has committed itself to help serve both the public and private sector with its stewardship of the park. Oil companies such as Triple Diamond Energy Corp adhere to strict regulations when drilling and exploring this protected seashore.

About the Author: Robert Jent is the president of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties. For more information, visit

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