This is a tale of two compressor stations. As far as Rick Putchio is concerned, one of them represents the best of oilfield practices, and one represents the worst. Putchio is upset with the station that EOG Resources built within earshot of a house he owns in rural Johnson County, south of Mansfield, so much so he's created a Web site denouncing the Houston-based producer. That's one of his pictures above of EOG's Big Daddy compression station. It's out in the open with only a large noise barrier on the west side of the facility, between the five compressors and the nearest house.
Just down County Road 514 is a similar-size XTO Energy compression station. But XTO's compressors are housed inside a sound-insulated building. We drove by one breezy morning. The XTO station was barely audible above a stiff southwest wind, while EOG's mechanical whine could be heard at least a quarter-mile downwind. Putchio calls it noise pollution and says he has complained to EOG to no effect. An EOG representative said Friday that the company "addresses each operating site on a case-by-case basis to minimize the impact on our neighbors," but declined further comment.