Terry County to experience increased drilling activity
By MITCH WORD
For well over a year, landmen have flooded the Terry County Clerk’s Office tracking down landowners to inquire about their mineral rights. That would lead to the potential of drilling for oil or gas on their land.
Since June 1 of this year, there have been 25 drilling permits issued for Terry County. Traditionally, Terry County has not been known for its oil production, especially when compared to Gaines County (82 permits issued in the same time period) or Andrews County (505 permits).
Much of the permit activity has been focused on two basic areas: approximately 8-9 miles northwest of Wellman and an area north of Tokio in the northwest part of the county.
In addition, the vast majority of the new activity is for new wells, not re-entering old wells. The wells are being drilled anywhere from 9,000-12,500 feet.
For the business community, the hope is that increased oil and gas production would lead to more jobs locally as well as the potential for families moving into the area. That would mean an influx of new dollars for the local economy.
Jay Youngblood, the President of American State Bank who is also President of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation, said that he thinks the extra drilling will be a big benefit to the various taxing entities, particularly the school districts.
“I think it’s going to be a big boost for the school districts in the county because of the taxes collected. The oil companies pay taxes based on production. Other school districts such as Sundown and Seminole have benefited greatly from oil. I would hope that some of the oil-related businesses would be able to expand and grow and bring people to Brownfield. And those people would have to have a place to live,” he said.
County Tax Appraiser Ronny Burran said that he, too, is hopeful the oil field would expand locally. However, the impact on the tax rolls might not be felt until next year.
“When we start seeing it is when those wells actually come in and that value gets put on the tax role. We might not see the actual impact until next year. Once they go into production is where the mainstream of value will be. The reserves of the mineral in place are what are actually appraised. Once the production stream comes online, that is when we will see activity in the form of added value to our tax base.
“The drilling rigs themselves can add to the value if the rig owners don’t declare situs (location) somewhere else.”