THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF A SERIES PROVIDING IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE CANDIDATES FOR APPOINTMENT TO THE LONE STAR GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
The Woodlands, February 5 – Dane Cantwell, the Reserve Captain in the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office and Chief Executive Officer of KA Energy Partners, an oil and gas exploration company, offers no nonsense solutions for the water problems facing Montgomery County residents, real estate developers, and groundwater producers, as the Commissioners Court considers him among the seven candidates for appointment to the Lone Star Groundwater Conservative District (LSGCD) Board of Directors.
The nominations are:
County Judge Craig Doyal: Randy Councill
Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador: Jill Savory
Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley: Jack Curtsinger
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack: Webb Melder
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark: Jack Curtsinger
In accordance with a procedure adopted at the January 24, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting (motion Noack, second Clark, unanimously approved), each of the five Commissioners Court members may nominate one person for the interviews which will occur in a February 14, 2017, public workshop after the regular Commissioners Court meeting adjourns. Precinct 1 Commissioner expressed his hope that the interviews and deliberations for the LSGCD appointment would occur in a secret executive session, so that the public could not observe the process.
Commissioner James Noack nominated Cantwell, although the Commissioner has already expressed his belief that Former Conroe Mayor Webb Melder is the strongest candidate under consideration.
The Golden Hammer asked Cantwell to describe his philosophy. His response follows:
“My philosophy is simple. We want the cheapest water we can get and not run out. The trick is figuring that out. The sources of water used in our communities should be based on both the science and the economics of our supply options. We must understand how much supply is available from our aquifers under a range of recharge conditions. There will be a range of answers depending on those various conditions. This must be coupled with the costs to obtain the water from surface sources and then we must decide an appropriate blend of water from our aquifers and surface sources if required. In the energy industry we evaluate a range of outcomes and call it ‘risk analysis.’ This should be applied to this problem. Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose we determine there is a 20% chance we will run short of ground water in 2030. Do you spend a few hundred million dollars now to mitigate that risk or do you just say if that happens we will just have to force a reduction in use until we address the issue at that point in time? Remember, right now we think it’s a 20% chance. In ten years maybe we will have more data that says it’s a 1% chance in which case you do nothing. Likewise, if the risk has raised to 80% then you act. This offers a real chance at saving us money.
“I also strongly believe that the costs of surface water usage (if required) should be fairly distributed among all stake holders. Not just those in Montgomery County.
“I have never had any financial interest in the development of public water supply and have something less than no interest in being a politician. I just saw this problem and said to myself ‘I bet I can get to the bottom of that.’ I like to solve problems. I would ask hard questions and have the background to know if I am getting real answers that make sense. I have been put in positions of trust in a number of organizations and have deep experience making sound development decisions based on scientific facts and economics.”
Cantwell has been in the energy industry for 30 years. He chaired the 2016 Society of Petroleum Engineering Improved Oil Recovery Conference where engineers presented the world’s latest science of reservoir engineering. Cantwell worked as a petroleum engineer for ARCO/BP, Anadarko, and Kinder Morgan. He was the founder of two private oil and gas companies the first of which was Legado Resources, which the principals later sold for $285 million in 2013. He is the founder and CEO of KA Energy Partners, which has production in Orange County, Texas, and is developing a waterflood in Starr County.
Cantwell emphasizes that he has “the practical economic, operational, and finance experience to help guide what should or should not be done. I understand the science [of aquifers] well.”
Cantwell is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas and has a Petroleum Engineering degree from Texas A&M University. He volunteers approximately fifty (50) hours per work as a Captain for Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable. He’s married with two children, a 22 year old son who has graduated from TAMU with an engineering degree and a 19 year old daughter who is enrolled at TAMU now.