SG Interests not saying what it paid for Encana leases | PostIndependent.com

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SG Interests not saying what it paid for Encana leases

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Texas-based energy company is not saying how much it paid to Encana Oil & Gas (USA) for two gas leases in the controversial Thompson Divide area southwest of Glenwood Springs.In fact, SG Interests, based in Houston, is not saying much about the acquisition of the two Encana leases.But a local activist working to prevent gas drilling in the Thompson Divide told the Post Independent he believes the fact that SG Interests was able to obtain the leases should be seen as an indication that drilling in the Thompson Divide area might be a waste of time and money.”This is just another example where a significant player in the industry [Encana] can’t seem to find a business justification for developing their leases there,” said TDC director Zane Kessler on Tuesday, the day after the lease exchange was announced.Kessler and the TDC hope to prevent drilling in the Thompson Divide through one or more approaches, including legislative action to prevent leasing of any lands now unleased, and a campaign to force the BLM to allow the leases to expire as scheduled later this year.The TDC, Kessler announced Tuesday, delivered 1,173 individual letters to the BLM, asking the agency to let the Thompson Divide leases expire as scheduled.Another approach, tried in February 2012, was to offer six energy companies the same amount of money they paid originally for their leases, a total of about $2.5 million, if the companies would abandon their development plans and let the leases expire.The companies declined, arguing they had invested significantly more capital into the gas-development process based on those leases than the original costs would reflect.”It would be interesting to see how much SG paid for those claims,” Kessler said.Regardless of what SG paid, Encana’s original payment for the leases in question, at a 2003 government auction, came to $38,275 for two leases that contain a total of 4,483 acres of public land, according to spokesman David Boyd of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Two other leases, bought by Encana in the same auction, were valued at $94,911 for just over 1,860 acres, and $159,936 for approximately 1,666 acres ($96 an acre). Encana has confirmed that it is allowing those leases to expire.With the two new leases, SG Interests now holds 18 leases in the Thompson Divide area.The original 16 leases SG held total 16,684 acres. With the added former Encana leases, SG Interests is leasing a total of total 21,167 acres in the Thompson Divide.After obtaining the former Encana leases, SG Interests asked the BLM to add the new leases to SG’s request to have all of its leases “suspended,” which would stop the clock before the leases expire later this year. This would allow the company to move ahead with applications to drill on the leases in question.Attempts to reach a spokesperson at SG Interests were not successful on Tuesday.The Thompson Divide area covers 221,500 acres of federal land in Pitkin County (88,100 acres), Gunnison County (51,700 acres), Garfield County (43,500 acres), Mesa County (30,500 acres) and Delta County (7,700 acres).There currently are 61 leases in the area covering approximately 105,000 acres.jcolson@postindependent.com