Saturday, January 27, 2007

Exclusive Golf Courses Get a New Lease

Drillers tapping into local golf courses

Map: Fairway explorations
Map: Fairway explorations

It's little surprise that Shady Oaks Country Club -- where Tex Moncrief has been a fixture in the grill room for almost a half-century -- kept the mineral rights under its 135 acres along Roaring Springs Road between Westover Hills and Westworth Village.

Turns out, too, that the neighboring Westworth Redevelopment Authority also has the mineral rights to more than 300 acres, even though it has leased much of the land it got from the former Carswell Air Force Base along White Settlement Road for commercial development.

So the exclusive country club, built by Fort Worth golfing legend Marvin Leonard a half-century ago and the longtime golfing home of the late Ben Hogan, has gone together with its Westworth Village neighbors and some other landowners to put together a 500-acre natural gas lease that Shady Oaks member Jack Fikes describes as "very attractive."

"We have had about six or eight operating companies approach us, and we think we'll sign a lease within two or three months," Fikes said after a neighborhood meeting this week at Burton Hill Elementary School in Westworth Village.

Shady Oaks will join Colonial and Rivercrest country clubs among those negotiating with natural gas operators to lease their land. Rolling Hills Country Club in Arlington, long under pressure to sell for development along Interstate 30, has gotten a new lease on life with a natural gas lease. So has the historic Glen Garden Golf & Country Club on Fort Worth's southeast side, which signed a lease a year ago.

Golf courses are attractive urban drilling sites because, unlike densely populated neighborhoods, drillers can lease hundreds of acres of mineral rights with a single signature.

Fikes told about 250 Westworth residents that the Barnett Shale natural gas drilling "is coming. You better get ready for it."

The city's redevelopment authority got about 400 acres of land from the federal government when Carswell Air Force Base was closed in the early 1990s (the base has stayed open as a naval air station).

The redevelopment authority intended to sell the land for what is becoming a thriving commercial development along the north side of White Settlement Road. It also upgraded the old Carswell Air Force Base golf course, now with a new life under the Hawks Creek name.

"We couldn't sell the land under clear title because there were some environmental issues to be resolved, so we had to keep the title to the land and the mineral rights," says Leland Clemons, director of the Westworth Village Redevelopment Authority. "I wish I could say that I was farsighted enough to have made the decision to keep the minerals, but it just worked out that way."

So Westworth Village is in line to get a handsome lease bonus, likely to be in the four figures per acre, for its share of the land. Combined with the Shady Oaks property just to the south, the lease of almost 600 acres could be one of the more attractive gas-production parcels in the city.

Fikes said Shady Oaks will not be home to a drilling-rig pad site. The adjoining Hawks Creek course, which is open to the public, may become a drilling site, Clemons said.

Hawks Creeks has about 190 acres compared with 135 acres for Shady Oaks.

In addition, the city of Fort Worth continues to cash in on the Barnett Shale. Last year, the city leased the 18,000 acres under Spinks Airport for $4,000 an acre to Four Sevens Oil Co. The lease has been sold to Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma City.

Now comes word that Meacham Field on Fort Worth's north side has attracted a bid from Fort Worth-based XTO Energy of $17,111 per acre as a signing bonus.

The total bid for the Meacham lease will be more than $14 million, which the city's gas-drilling consultant Paul Midkiff believes will be a record signing bonus.

XTO had been the runner-up on the Spinks lease, with its 25 percent royalty falling short of Four Sevens' 27.5 percent. This time XTO is taking no chances, offering 28 percent for the Meacham lease.


At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a few Oklahoma golf course have active gas wells surrounding them. The ones that bother me the most are the compressor stations to the east around lake Eufaula. They run on natural gas from the well and you can hear them for miles, especially when they backfire.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Why does the juxtaposition of golf & oil not surprise me in the least?

And, didn't we have some sort of running gag about a PO golf course last year at CFN? Mort guarded the "3rd hole" or something like that?

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

First it was supergiant fields...
Then giant fields...
Now golf courses...

Will our future gas supplies come from Putt-Putt?

We're down to sofa pickings. that's a tough way to make rent.


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