The Arlington, TX, City Council Tuesday initially approved amendments to the city's gas drilling ordinance that would place stricter requirements on operators. Among them are a requirement to install video surveillance equipment at drill sites and restrictions on the use of diesel-powered rigs in favor of electric rigs. The latter provision is intended to reduce noise and emissions at drill sites. Also slated for revision are the definition of "protected structures," and setback compliance requirements. In order to take effect, the amendments need a second vote, which is expected to happen when the council meets next month.
Houston-based Halliburton Co. has begun work on a $50 million regional office complex in San Antonio, TX, and plans to hire as many as 1,500 workers there to support its operations in the Eagle Ford Shale. The 400,000 square-foot facility on the city's southeastern edge is expected to be fully operational by early 2013. Other oilfield services companies, including Baker Hughes Inc., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Inc. have hinted that they will also develop facilities in San Antonio, which is just north of the prolific shale play, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "The San Antonio area offers not only a close proximity to Eagle Ford, but also a strong workforce base and support infrastructure," Halliburton said. Eagle Ford and Bakken shale drilling is a main driver of Halliburton's operating income in North America, which was 14% higher sequentially in 3Q2011 and for the first time surpassed $1 billion (see Shale Daily, Oct. 18).