Antero to drill at Stillwater |

Antero to drill at Stillwater

Antero Resources will drill on the proposed Stillwater subdivision in July.

“We’re working with the owner of the land in anticipation of drilling this summer,” said Terry Dobkins, vice president of production for Antero.

Antero had leased land from Valley Farms Inc., the property owner of the site for the proposed Stillwater Ranch development south of Silt. Stillwater has been annexed into the town of Silt in anticipation of its development.

The Stillwater Ranch subdivision is slated for 1,200 single- and multifamily homes on 36 acres south of the Colorado River, with two 18-hole golf courses, a community center, swimming pool, hiking and equestrian trails, and some commercial development. It has faced many hurdles and problems and may never come to fruition.

Antero will also drill on land it leases from Glenwood Springs attorney Scott Balcomb near the gravel pit north of the Colorado River and south of Highway 6 and 24, east of Rifle. Dobkins said the initial drilling efforts will be exploratory.

“We’ll drill first to evaluate the geology,” he said. Dobkins explained that the further north the company drills the more risk there is of not finding economically viable gas.

As the Williams Fork Formation, the geologic layer where there’s production natural gas, approaches the Grand Hogback it begins to pinch out, becoming narrower and narrower. The formation has already been a proven producer on the south side of the river, where EnCana and Williams Production have extensive gas fields.

“We’ll start at the area with the lowest risk,” Dobkins said.

Antero also has drilling leases north of the Colorado River between Silt and Rifle, but Dobkins said he doesn’t anticipate drilling there until 2006.

The company is also importing a new, state-of-the-art drill rig from Italy that will be ready to go to work in June or July, Dobkins said. He said he heard about the new type of rig from a homeowner in the Panoramic Drive subdivision north of Silt who told him about the rigs during a public meeting.

Antero will employ directional drilling with up to six wells drilled from one well pad. One rig can drill one to one and a half wells per month, he added.

Antero is permitted through the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for nine wells in 2005.

“It’s a slow process, and a function of the success of those first weeks,” Dobkins said.

Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510

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