The city expects to receive $8.34 million from Chesapeake Exploration LP. Irving would also get a nearly 28 percent royalty on future gas well revenue.

The lease includes land mostly along the city's southern border, including the landfill, Twin Wells Golf Course and numerous parks. Crews won't drill into the ground on city property. Instead, the company plans to lease additional nearby land in order to drill and reach gas reserves under city property, Irving officials said.

Some consider Dallas County to be barren, but production companies say they think the Barnett field extends into the county's west side. It's believed that there are no active well sites in Dallas County.

Irving City Council member Rick Stopfer said he is confident in the research city officials have conducted to ensure that gas well sites are far from Irving homes.

"It offers the city a lot of opportunities to capitalize on the assets we have," he said. "It really comes at an opportune time as we try to work through our budgets."

Chesapeake projects that it initially will use 15 horizontal wells in Irving, city officials said. The city estimates it could receive at least $2.4 million in royalties on each well over a 20-year period.

Chesapeake will have up to 45 days to investigate the city's mineral ownership before paying the city, said Doug Janeway, Irving's real estate services manager. The Oklahoma-based company could then apply for a drilling permit, he said.

Drilling could begin this year, although Chesapeake would have up to two years before being required to start, Mr. Janeway said. The company's two-year lease could be extended to a third year.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. the general partner of Chesapeake Exploration LP, says it is the nation's second-largest independent natural gas producer. It also says it is the nation's most active driller of new wells.

The City Council approved an ordinance last year that regulates gas well drilling. City officials said at the time that they wanted to strike a balance between companies that want to drill and residents who don't want to see a decline in the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

The ordinance requires drilling companies to complete an application process and have insurance policies. It also includes regulations for shutting down wells.

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