Bill Barrett Inc. to ask COGCC for denser underground well spacing
The Garfield County Commissioners got a heads-up from a Bill Barrett Inc. representative about a request it will put to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission asking for denser underground well spacing.The formal request will be made at a COGCC hearing in January.According to Scot Donato, manager of environment and safety for Bill Barrett Inc., the company will ask for underground well densities of up to 10 acres in some areas.On the surface, Donato said, the optimum well spacing would be one pad per 80 acres.”There will be select cases where less than 80 acres will be required depending on topography, lease and section lines, and 40 acre surface spacing will be the densest spacing between (well pad) locations. The absolute worst case is one location per 40 acres.”Bill Barrett Inc. is the latest business venture of Bill Barrett, a 75-year-old gas man from Denver who was an early player in Garfield County’s natural gas boom. Williams Companies acquired Barrett Resources in 2001. Williams Production is a leading gas producer in the county along with EnCana Oil & Gas.Barrett purchased gas leases and some 70 wells from Calpine, which operated south of Silt. It plans to have four drill rigs operating by next summer and to drill 80 to 100 wells over the next two to three years, with up to eight directionally drilled wells per pad.At issue to the county is an area south of Silt where a drilling moratorium is in effect. The COGCC imposed the moratorium on a two-mile radius around a natural gas seep into West Divide Creek from an EnCana well this year. The COGCC fined EnCana $371,200 for the seep.While the moratorium does not apply directly to Barrett, the county commissioners wanted assurances that it would not drill there.The commissioners requested a letter from the company saying it will abide by the two-mile moratorium and also asked for clarification on what circumstances would prompt Barrett to request a spacing exception from the COGCC.Donato also told the commissioners the company had held a town meeting in Silt recently to hear people’s concerns.”We got an earful,” he said.Among the issues raised were noise and traffic on the Dry Hollow road south of Silt that is used to access drilling rigs and production facilities.Donato expressed frustration over keeping the many contractors Barrett hired in line.”We make threats to them … and encourage law enforcement to enforce the rules,” he said. Brooke Caldwell of Silt told the commissioners a harrowing story of being forced off the Dry Hollow road recently by an unmarked truck. Caldwell was driving a 3,000-gallon water truck, which went off the road and flipped over.”There are so many trucks on the road; they’re flying. I was doing 25,” she said. “We need some help up there. It’s not being patrolled … Please don’t ignore this. It’s not a simple country road anymore.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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