Fairway Prepping To Pump Oil Back into the Ground at the Pierce Junction Salt Dome

Map of Oil Wells in and Around Pierce Junction Salt Dome, Houston

Right next door to the fairways of the Wildcat Golf Club, Fairway Energy Partners is moving forward with plans announced this summer to put nearly half a billion gallons of crude oil back into the ground, right in the center of the once-wild Pierce Junction oil field just south of the Inner Loop between S. Main St. and Highway 288. (The field, which a 1956 Time Magazine article called the site of “the biggest of all Gulf Coast oil booms,” still pumps out oil.) Fairway announced in November that they’ve picked engineers to help them retrofit 3 of the 8 man-made caverns dissolved into the Pierce Junction salt dome for crude storage.  A dense ring of current and closed oil wells (mapped as green dots above) traces the uppermost reach of the migrant salt, buried approximately 950 feet below the surface and extending several miles deep to its source layer.


The caverns could be ready by the end of 2016 to receive the first 10 million barrels of crude. Later phases of the project will boost storage capacity to 20 million barrels — roughly 1.5 times the volume of the Astrodome, the area’s more famous dome.

Liquid natural gas and other industrial volatiles are already stored in some of the salt dome’s cavities by Texas Brine Company; when the time is right, operators pump dense salty brine into the caverns to float the lighter liquids up and out. The retrofit will include hundred-million-gallon brine storage ponds on the surface and all the latest pipeline accessories.

Map of Pierce Junction oil wells: Texas Railroad Commission


Partners in Brine

9 Comment

  • Texas Brine, the wonderful company that cause the giant sink hole in Morgan City that is still growing in size. So I ask you what could go wrong??


  • The Morgan City video posted by another commenter is pretty, um, scary. I would appreciate it Swamplot followed up on this story and potential consequences for Houston.

  • I, for one, am excited at the prospect of new lakeside homes that are much closer to the amenities of the inner loop than those out by Lake Conroe. I mean, there’s already a golf course right next door!

  • If you drive by the area on Almeda Rd., you frequently get a whiff of something petrochemical/natural gas. I always wondered how safe that area was.

  • Forget UH, this could literally sink the UT campus.

  • Homeowners worried about subsidence and braes bayou flooding might benefit from some oil being pumped back into the ground, get a few inches of uplift in that whole swath south of the bayou .

  • So I guess this oilfield is the reason Houston abruptly halted its expansion southward, back when the Medical Center was known as “Uptown” and the Shamrock was the most famous building in Houston. I always wondered why there was no big residential neighborhood down there.

  • Would that I could Just Say No…
    We’re playing with a timebomb.
    There are well-water homesteads between there and the coast which can be effected.
    And with the on-going salt water intrusion into the fresh water table, the ‘brine’ will reach the Gulf waters. Why is that bad? The proprietary mix of lubricants mixed in, so-called ‘brine’, are definitely bad for the environment. (If not, they wouldn’t be ignitable and kill birds on contact.)
    This is one more way we’re poisoning ourselves and creating a future Superfund site.

  • I live about 3 miles of here. This seems like an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Why aren’t more people talking about this?