Commissioners to visit Ursa Operating facilities on Nov. 9 | PostIndependent.com

Commissioners to visit Ursa Operating facilities on Nov. 9

Garfield County commissioners Monday set their dates for a site visit on Ursa Operating Co.'s facilities in Battlement Mesa in preparation for next month's hearing, which could have long-term implications for the industry.

The commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 14, will begin the hearing to determine whether to allow a small injection well at one of Ursa's facilities in the Battlement Mesa residential area. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. at the Grand Valley Recreation Center.

The overall project includes applications for 55 gas wells to be drilled at two well pads, a temporary water storage facility and natural gas pipeline associated with both pads, but it is the small injection well that has received the most public criticism.

Commissioner John Martin previously expressed that he would like the hearing to allow for a full-day of testimony if need be.

The commissioners will then pick up the hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Garfield County Administration Building, where a decision on the injection well will ultimately be made.

Before that, however, the commissioners expressed a desire to take a site visit, which they determined would be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9. The site visit is expected to take 90 minutes to two hours to complete.

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Ursa on Monday also updated the commissioners on how the first phase of operations has gone as drilling is expected to be completed over the next few months.

Ursa will look to finish all phase I drilling by early 2018 and hopes to be onto production for phase I as early as May.

All 24 wells have been drilled at one of the well pads, the BMC B Pad, and completions are expected to begin by mid-October. Ursa anticipates being on location until February 2018. Ursa is currently drilling 14 wells on the other well pad, the BMC D Pad, as part of phase I operations. Once its done with the D Pad, all the phase I drilling will be complete.

While Ursa received several complaints since the last Phase I update, most were noise complaints, which the company said it solved with the complainant.

"We did encounter some gas during the drilling operations on the B Pad," said Ursa Operations Superintendent Matt Honeycutt.

On June 27, a sample came back indicating a reportable level of methane. The company said the gas was reported and handled in accordance with state requirements. The lab reran the sample indicating a much lower sample level and continued monthly sampling, which has shown a decreasing trend.

"Equipment was in place and ready to address that as needed and kept the operation moving forward in a safe and effective manner," Honeycutt told the commissioners.

Garfield County oil and gas liaison Kirby Wynn said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said the incident was not surprising or alarming. COGCC has conducted 17 inspections at the site with no corrective actions required yet.

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