CAMERON - Citing the need to improve the safety of its operations, California-based oil giant Chevron has temporarily stopped producing natural gas in Marshall County.
"Chevron took this action to perform maintenance, improve the safety and reliability of operating systems and enhance the pad stability at some of the sites," said Trip Oliver, manager of policy, government and public affairs for Chevron North America.
Oliver, who would not be more specific on the scope of the shutdown, said the temporary production halt is not due to recent declines in the price of natural gas, noting it is only due to the safety matters.
"Chevron came in and shut down two wells that were going, just outside our city limits. They want to make sure these wells are going to live up to their specification standards before operating them," Cameron Mayor Mark Frazier said.
Since acquiring lease rights from AB Resources, NPAR, TriEnergy Holdings and Chief Oil and Gas - as Marshall and Ohio County Clerk records show - Chevron now controls thousands of acres for drilling in Ohio and Marshall counties. The driller continues leasing more acreage in the two counties, as well.
"Some wells have recently been returned to production, and Chevron will do so with the remaining wells only as soon as we are confident that they can be operated safely," Oliver added of the Marshall County operations.
Recently, a group of Marshall County mineral rights owners who saw Chevron take over their leases from AB Resources decided to file suit against AB for over $1 million, claiming the Ohio-based company made inappropriate deductions from production royalty payments. The plaintiffs cite the fact that Chevron does not make the same deductions AB made.
Chevron, one of the largest oil companies in the world, notes on its website that it has 57,000 employees. In 2011, Chevron's average net production was 2.673 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day. The company had a global refining capacity of 1.96 million barrels of oil per day at the end the year.
During the first three months of 2012, Chevron reported $6.5 billion of net income. This marks a $300 million increase from the $6.2 billion the company earned during the same time last year.