October 2020 Virtual Meeting

Monday, October 12, 2020
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Note: ETGS members will receive an email with info for logging into the meeting.


Long term effects of a leak in a gas storage well within the Bammel gas storage field, Harris County, Texas

Richard Merrill


Early one morning in the late summer of 1944 young Eugene Klein walked out of his north Harris county farm house to discover the family's, hand dug, well was overflowing from the ground. Some time later that week, his brother Calvin found a portion of Spring-Cypress road that ran along their farm was burning and would not go out. Both of these seemingly un-related phenomena were produced by one of the largest underground blow-outs in history where over 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas was injected into the shallow water aquifer that supplied much of Houston and Harris County. Much later, in the summer of 1999, a small boy residing at the North West Pines mobile home park walks, carrying his tackle box and fishing pole to a pond near the entrance of the park. The pond is circular, with steep sides and full of muddy water.

All three of these events occurring in north Harris County, Texas are linked by an event that was slow to be detected. That event was an underground blow-out in the Bammel gas storage field just south of Cypress Creek parkway (formally Farm to Market road 1960) in the northern portion of Harris County, Texas, about 25 miles north of downtown Houston. Although this uncontained release of natural gas has been controlled, many reminders of this event are still with us today.


Mr. Merrill received his B.S. degree in Geology from the Ohio State University in 1964. After a year working for a geophysical survey crew, and as a well site geologist, he attended graduate school at The Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, receiving a M.S. degree in Geology in 1972. He went to work, in 1967, for Shell Oil Company in their New Orleans offshore office where she spent 12 years in various geologic and Petroleum engineering positions, in both domestic and international regions. From 1978 until his retirement in 2005 he held management positions in several independent Oil and Gas entities in Houston. The last several years of his career was as a consulting geologist and geological engineer concentrating on economic evaluations of petroleum producing properties, including a year evaluating properties in the former Soviet Union.

After spending 35 plus years in the humid south, he escaped to an aviation airpark in Chuckey, Tennessee where he loves with his lovely wife Virginia, his airplane and his miniature dashound "Charlie".

Greetings, and welcome to the October 12, 2020 ETGS virtual meeting. We hope you, your family, and your colleagues are staying healthy.

As a courtesy please mute your cell phone or the microphone in your laptop/tablet to minimize background noise and feedback echos. We will also make an effort to mute all participants - at least until the presentation is finished. Please use the chat feature to type any comments or questions you may have. We recommend that you send questions for the speaker to "everyone" so all participants can see the question. In the interest of time, we may hold the Q&A at the end of the presentation.

We will create a virtual attendance list. It is not always possible to tell who is participating, especially for those joining by phone, so please email
etgs@live.com to be listed on the attendance sheet. Let us know exactly how your name should appear on the list. We will add a note explaining the lack of signatures due to COVID-19-induced distancing and have an ETGS officer sign as usual.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try this online format. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Please note that ETGS will be waiving membership fees through the 2021 calendar year in recognition that COVID-19 is impacting our meetings, and because we do not anticipate as many expenses (meeting rooms, field trips, etc). ETGS would encourage members to invite friends and colleagues to take advantage of this rare occasion.





Page updated October 12, 2020