Bayou Brule 3-D Seismic Permitting & Leasing Project

Location: Louisiana
Services: Land, Program Management

At the time when Covington began working with GIS mapping software in 2000, packaged GIS software for energy land operations, right-of-way acquisitions, and many engineering applications was on the cusp of development. Since then we have mastered the uses of GIS to coordinate work, track work, produce work documents, and organize data and documents.

For the Bayou Brule Project, we compiled and maintained a file geodatabase and GIS map coverage of a project area encompassing approximately 51,000 acres in size and located in Lafayette, St. Martin and St. Landry Parishes in Louisiana. There were no existing GIS Tax/Landowner Maps commercially available for this project. Covington developed GIS maps from photo copied paper maps, which were vectorized to create shape files.

Title research for the project was performed in the offices of three clerks of court. Our team prepared title reports that contained the names of surface and mineral owners of record, addresses, telephone numbers, legal land descriptions, amount of ownership expressed as decimals, amount of net acres owned, deed recordation references, and the chains of title for each land parcel.

After incorporating the land and title information into a file geodatabase, the information was then exported to word documents to prepare contact lists, offer and information letters to landowners, prepare leases, right-of-ways and easements, permits, damage releases, and then to calculate amounts of payments due and prepare checks or drafts.

For this project Covington prepared more than 3000 title reports, acquired 3868 seismic permits, 336 leases, and damage settlements. Weekly progress of the permit and lease negotiations was plotted daily. Any combination of information was selectable to create spreadsheet reports from the file geodatabase.

Covington conducted environmental field surveys to determine areas of potential impacts to wetlands and obtained the necessary permits from the COE and local parish governments. Wetlands survey data, sensitive areas, unpermitted land parcels, and water well locations were incorporated into an avoidance feature layer for the GIS map. We worked with geophysical survey crews to develop mapped features of the seismic survey grid that displayed shot points and receivers before and during the survey. Precise locations of surface damage caused by survey crews were featured to assist in the calculation and negotiations of damage settlements and to protect the client from potential added liabilities. Daily progress of the seismic survey was plotted daily.

Covington has a successful record of gaining access to public lands for energy exploration and production, and energy related data acquisition to find oil and gas. We largely find that this success is related to our superior knowledge of development activities and their impacts on the related National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) issues. The U. S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA) – Minerals & Geology Management Staff in Washington DC invited Covington to speak about our approach to NEPA at the International Petroleum Environmental Conference in 2002.