Who is Collier Resources Company (CRC) and
what does the company do?
In the early 20th Century, advertising magnate Barron Gift Collier
came to Southwest Florida and, inspired by the promise of this land, he
bought more than a million acres and was instrumental in creating
Today, nearly 100 years later, two family companies – The Barron
Collier Companies and Collier Enterprises – continue to realize his
vision through a commitment to integrity, strong business values and a
deep respect for the land.
Both companies engage in businesses that include agricultural
operations, land management, real estate development, oil and gas
production, as well as the conveyance of land for preservation.
Together, the two companies manage the family’s mineral holdings
through Collier Resources Company (CRC) and are part of the more than
seven-decade history of successful oil exploration and development in
How many mineral acres does CRC own?
CRC is the largest private mineral company in South Florida,
managing and developing more than 800,000 mineral acres in Collier, Lee
and Hendry Counties.
What is the history of oil operations in
The first oil discovery in Florida was made in Collier County by the
Humble Oil and Refining Company, known today as ExxonMobil, in 1943 on
Collier minerals in the Sunniland Oil Trend, located just south of
Since that time, eight Southwest Florida commercial oil fields have
produced more than 120 million barrels of oil from the Sunniland Oil
Trend at some of the highest on-shore per-well flow rates in the
country. In 1977, the Sunniland had a peak year, producing more than
14,000 barrels of oil per day.
For many years, Humble Oil and Refining Company was the predominant
operator in the Sunniland Trend. In addition to Sunniland field, it
discovered and produced oil under leases from Collier Resources Company
(CRC) in the Big Cypress National Preserve at Bear Island beginning in
the mid-1970s and at Raccoon Point beginning in the early 1980s.
ExxonMobil later sold its interest to Calumet Florida, LLC in
Today, BreitBurn Florida, LLC, the successor to Calumet, continues
to produce oil from the Bear Island and Raccoon Point fields within the
Big Cypress National Preserve, as well as three other fields located
north of the preserve, all within the Sunniland Oil Trend.
What is the Sunniland Oil Trend?
The Sunniland Trend is a well defined, onshore hydrocarbon-bearing
geological layer that stretches from Fort Myers to Miami. It is located
on the northeast flank of the South Florida basin, the largest
unexplored geological basin in the lower United States.
Sunniland Oil Trend wells produce from limestone hills at an average
depth of more than two miles underground and its fields contain very
low amounts of gas, making them low pressure and requiring submersible
pumps to bring the oil to the surface.
Oil from the Sunniland Oil Trend is of the heavy-sour variety with a
consistency of liquid tar. Its refined products include automobile and
aviation fuels, various grades of diesel fuel, lube oils and
Oil and gas production has been continuous from Southwest Florida
oil fields since the Sunniland Oil Trend's first discovery at the
Sunniland Field in 1943. Over the past 70 years, 14 named discoveries
have been made in the trend and an excess of 120 million barrels of
crude oil have been produced from eight commercial oil fields.
Who regulates oil and gas activities in
The number of agencies regulating oil and gas activities depends on
where the activities are taking place. Generally, the State of Florida
regulates oil and gas activities through the Department of
Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Division.
However, should an oil and gas activity be located in wetlands or on
federally-owned surface lands, such as the Big Cypress National
Preserve, then one or more federal agencies, such as the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National
Park Service (NPS), must also approve such activities.
What federal agency regulates oil and gas
activity in the Big Cypress National Preserve?
The lead federal agency in permitting oil and gas operation in the
Big Cypress National Preserve is the U.S. Department of the Interior's
NPS. The NPS Ochopee office has oil and gas specialists who monitor
existing operations and work with oil and gas operators in proposing
new operations. Consultations with, or direct permits from, U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and
Environmental Protection Agency are also required.
Have any regulatory agencies ever found
that oil exploration and development were adversely effecting the
No. In fact, twice during its 37 years of regulating oil and gas
activities, the State of Florida has examined the effects of oil and
gas exploration and drilling on the environment of Southwest Florida
and concluded that no detrimental impacts to the environment have
Congress twice concluded the same in authorizing the Big Cypress
National Preserve Enabling Act of 1974 and the Big Cypress Preserve
Addition Act of 1988. The NPS in its 1992 programmatic environmental
impact assessment of the Big Cypress National Preserve's General
Management Plan, and more specifically its Mineral Management Plan,
published a matrix of environmental protection requirements developed
specifically to provide effective protection to Southwest Florida's
most sensitive lands.
Is there is oil drilling taking place in
No. There has not been any oil exploration or development activities
allowed in the Everglades since 1957, when all oil and gas rights were
extinguished by the act that created Everglades National Park in 1947.
Interestingly, the road leading up to the observation tower at Shark
River Slough and the pad the tower sits on were originally built for an
exploratory oil well.
Additionally, there is a long history of oil exploration and
development in the Big Cypress National Preserve and the area has had
active oil production since the inception of the preserve in 1974. In
fact, the Big Cypress Preserve was established as a preserve, in part,
for the purpose of maintaining certain existing rights – one of which
was oil and gas exploration and development.
Has there been a history of oil spills in
In more than 70 years of producing oil in Southwest Florida, no
major spills have occurred in producing oil fields. When small spills
have occurred, most or all of the oil has been recovered with cleanup
Statistics indicate that most incidents have occurred around well
heads and tank batteries and have been contained on limestone pads
precluding environmental impact. Incidents occurring off limestone pads
and into standing water, if present, are subject to a spill response
plan, an operating requirement that is practiced every year and
incorporates state and federal agency cleanup and vegetative
Southwest Florida oil fields also include production monitoring
systems to alert field personnel and minimize spills.
Together, with federal and state regulators, Collier Resources
Company is committed to protecting and preserving the environment and
ensuring oil exploration and development activities have a minimal
impact on the surrounding environment.
Have past oil development and production
activities contaminated groundwater?
No. It has been suggested that groundwater resources could have been
contaminated at the Collier-Hogan well site south of Lake Trafford
because third-party’s claimed nearby wells were not properly plugged.
However, a review of the public records found this to be factually
How are groundwater resources protected
during exploration activities?
Four layers of steel pipe and a layer of concrete separate the oil
being produced in the well at depths greater than two miles from the
aquifer. This will provide groundwater resources with five layers of
protection. Consequently, the risk of water contamination is extremely
For more information on this, please click here for a groundwater modeling analysis
conducted by Conestoga-Rovers & Associates.
How big is the risk of H2S being released
from the well?
There has never been an evacuation from a drilling site in South
Florida due to a gas release or explosion since oil production was
first established in 1943. And, in fact, in South Florida, there is so
little gas and pressure that there is very little threat of H2S or any
gas being released.
Though risk is minimal, as a precautionary measure, the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) still mandates that any
company requesting a drilling permit must first establish a safety plan
that includes H2S detection.
How is H2S monitored and what happens if
it is detected?
H2S, if it were present, would be located in the targeted reservoir,
which is approximately 12,000 feet below the surface. Accordingly, once
the well reaches a depth of 9,000 feet, the operator will have a
contracted third party safety company on location 24 hours a day
monitoring for H2S.
Should H2S be detected, alarms will sound at the well site,
notifications will automatically be sent to the lessee’s personnel and
the well will be immediately shut down. The lessee will then have a
safety meeting to evaluate the situation and will not resume operations
until the proper safety measures are implemented.
Exploration and Production Techniques
How does the 3-Dimensional seismic survey
A 3-D seismic survey uses sound waves to locate oil formations at
great depths, much like an MRI produces a map of the human body. This
process is carried out in one of two ways: 1. By drilling small
diameter holes and placing small charges underground or 2. By using
sets of vibrosis trucks.
The drilling process begins by creating a carefully designed grid of
small seismic charges and listening devices called geophones on the
surface. A drill mounted on a buggy is used to sink a small diameter
casing 100 to 150 feet into the earth. A small seismic charge is pushed
through and out the bottom of the casing. The casing is then withdrawn,
sealing off the charge from the surface and allowing the soil to fall
back into place. Once the seismic charges have been placed, geophones
are positioned on the surface and turned on. The charges are then
individually discharged. The resulting sound waves travel downward and
reflect off layers of the earth providing a highly accurate
three-dimensional map of all underground structures within the survey
area. This map reveals the presence or absence of geological formations
similar to those that have produced oil.
The second methodology for conducting a survey is the use of
vibrosis machines. The grid layout for a vibrosis operation is similar
to that used in the drilling/charge process. Instead of a buggy mounted
drill, a set of three machines follows the grid pattern and at each
designated location the machines stop, set their vibrating pads on the
ground, vibrate for 20 seconds and move on to the next location. The
machines, although large, are equipped with balloon tires and have a
displacement pressure of 26 psi. Which is less pressure exerted on the
ground than a pickup truck. To view a video demonstration of the use of
vibrosis trucks, please visit the 3-D Seismic Exploration Page.
The accuracy of the 3D seismic survey reduces the need to drill
multiple exploratory wells and allows more strategic placement of
development wells; thus, reducing the impact to the environment.
How does the survey determine the
possibility of oil?
The survey shows whether geological formations or hills equivalent
to those already producing oil are present, and if so, the shape,
orientation and exact location of those formations. The survey
identifies potential oil bearing structures and if potential is found,
then a test well is drilled to determine whether or not oil is
What is the environmental impact of a 3-D
When exploring with a 3-D seismic survey, Collier Resources Company
(CRC) and its lessees work to develop the most minimally invasive
survey plan possible. The lessees also follow a comprehensive list of
operational rules and conditions set forth by the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection and the industry’s best management practices,
including helicopter delivery of survey equipment, use of existing
roads and trails, when possible, on-foot surveying, placement and
retrieval of geophone listening devices, and use of third-party
observers to ensure rule compliance.
Isn't the use of seismic charges harmful
Seismic charges are generally small. From a only few hundred feet
away, charge detonation sounds and feels like a very low frequency
thump with very little vibration. The sound magnitude is no greater
than a muted thunder clap immediately adjacent to the charge location.
No soil is displaced into the air from the detonation because the
seismic charge placement process completely isolates it from the
surface. Wildlife has not been displaced by this survey activity, but
may avoid areas for the very short and temporary survey period in which
equipment and human activity is present.
How loud will the rig be?
Collier County has a noise ordinance that limits detectable levels
to 75 decibels in agricultural areas.
A typical drilling rig produces 90 decibels at the rig floor, where
the operations are the loudest, and at 300 feet from the rig floor the
levels are reduced to only 60 decibels. These levels were recorded and
confirmed by a consultant on a drilling rig operating in Collier
Collier Resources Company (CRC) is confident that drilling
operations will not violate the noise ordinance.
Will the noise from a drilling operation
scare wildlife, like panthers, and push them out of their natural
CRC relies on the expertise of regulators and panther biologists to
address the issue of impacts to panther habitats; but, notably many
respected panther biologists in Southwest Florida have publicly stated
that oil exploration and development activities do not impact the
panthers in Southwest Florida.
In addition, we encourage you to visit the Environmental Stewardship
page which displays an image indicating telemetry points of
panthers, indicating their prevalence within the Big Cypress National