Oil/Gas/Seismic Survey Issues
I am a board member of an Oklahoma not for profit corporation in rural Payne Co. Ok. We have received a letter from a seismic survey company requesting "permission" to come blow things up on our premises,but claiming that we have no right to refuse. We have two disabled persons in residence, both of whom have severe aversion to loud noise and vibration (which cause them EXTREME emotional and physical distress),and one of whom is at high risk for stroke and/or coronary events. It seems from what I have read so far that land owners have no more right against such intrusion than residents of Nazi Germany,and these people can run roughshod over the public to their hearts' content. Is their no mechanism in place for poor people to resist this subjugation and keep such intrusion away? In addition, part of the property (2 acres) has been sold to another entity and the remainder of the 10 acre tract is under purchase agreement, a fact that they seem to have ignored even though the 2 acre portion has been on the tax roles under the new owners name, and the new owner has not been contacted. We have neighbors all around who have consented to the intrusion, and I wonder if their ground shaking that close would not suffice without coming upon our premises. In addition, there is a ten inch high pressure gas pipeline that traverses the property, and we are very concerned about the possibility of problems caused by shaking the ground in close proximity to it. Another issue is that people across the county had this testing close to their home and their water well immediately went bad, but the seismic people disclaimed responsibility, and the people had to pay for THREE wells to be dug (about $5000 a shot) before hitting good water again. I saw one of your comments that these companies try to not annoy people with their noise, however there have been three rigs within a mile and a half of us and the noise from those operation, even at that distance, kept us awake for three months. What relief, if any, might be available for those in our situation who do not have thousands upon thousands of dollars for lawyers? Are any of these companies at all sensitive to the negative publicity their actions might cause (we would most certainly strive to give it to them) or are they just so filthy rich and greed ridden that human beings are as nothing?
Curious why they even asked then, if they also told you you have "no right to refuse." They are basically correct however. Unfortunately for landowners (but fortunate for mineral owners) the subsurface mineral estate (i.e. the oil and gas rights) is separate from the surface estate, and is the "dominant" estate. You really can't prevent the mineral owner from using a reasonable portion of your land to extract the oil and gas beneath (or to do a seismic survey.) It would certainly be easier on landowners if the oil and gas companies could extract oil and gas without drilling holes on someone's land, but I don't see that method changing anytime soon.
As for the seismic survey, it will only be temporary, and perhaps reminding everyone of that will help with the stress levels caused by any excess noise. Of course if the seismic indicates there's a nice pool of oil or gas under there then you may get to watch (and perhaps listen) to them drilling a well at some point. I wouldn't worry about them "running roughshod over you." Most of the time they try to leave a small footprint rather than tearing up land unnecessarily, and I'm sure most of them probably don't even speak German.
If a well is eventually drilled, then as a landowner you may be able to negotiate somewhat as to well location before they begin to drill, and perhaps negotiate a one-time payment of some sort for the inconvenience of putting up with the noise or crop damage if the wellsite is actually on your land.
I understand your frustration, but the seismic is only going to be a temporary inconvenience, and we all use petroleum products every day in this country and they have to get it from somewhere. Better in this country than the Middle East. For the nearby rigs I would suggest earplugs (most foam earplugs are petroleum based by the way) to ease the noise.
Hope this helps you out.
Frederick M. "Mick" Scott CMM RPL
The Mineral Hub