Antero to drill in new, unusual area |

Antero to drill in new, unusual area

Antero Resources, the new natural gas company on the block, is set to drill in an unusual place with unconventional rigs.The Denver-based company has seven drilling permits for an area southwest of Silt on the south side of the Colorado River. During the current natural gas boom, there has not been any drilling activity that close to the river.”This is a new area and we don’t know if it will be successful. It may not be productive,” said Terry Dobkins, vice president of production for Antero.”It was the case where the mineral and landowners are the same. They approached us because they knew our record and want to develop their resource.”Some of the landowners involved have a gravel mining business in what is known as the Island Park area. “We’re having to work out ways to work around the gravel,” Dobkins said.Antero first will drill two or three wells to determine if a larger drilling program is warranted.In another unusual move, Antero is also importing a new, state-of-the-art drill rig from Italy that is due in the United States in April and 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. “I hadn’t heard of it and I went to our driller in Fort Worth and asked what he knew about it, and he said, ‘I’ll find out.’ We decided it might be something that would work for us, so we canceled our traditional rig that was scheduled.”The new Italian rig is owned by Cheyenne Drilling Co.Dobkins said the rigs are more automated than traditional rigs, and pipe is turned by power from the top rather than the bottom of the platform. The new model also has a smaller footprint and is mounted on a trailer, “so it’s easier to move. It takes about half the number of truckloads to move,” he said. Because it is fully hydraulic, it will be quieter in its operation, and requires a crew of three rather than the usual four men. The mud system is fully enclosed so there will be no pits, as drilling mud will be stored in tanks.”This is the first time I’ve had experience with (this new rig) and I’ve been drilling for 30 years,” Dobkins said. “We’ll probably keep the rig running through the year.”As for their future plans, “We’ll most likely develop our acreage for the next few years.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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