BLM beefs up its response to oil and gas development | PostIndependent.com
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BLM beefs up its response to oil and gas development

by Donna Gray

BLM is beefing up its efforts to administer natural gas development on its lands in Garfield County. The Glenwood Springs Field Office has added two new staff members, said Steve Bennett, assistant area manager for the Glenwood Springs BLM office.As an indicator of just how big oil and gas is here, BLM issued 183 applications for a permit to drill in 2004 and expects to issue about 250 this year, Bennett said.”Our activity level is continually bumping up,” he said.To keep ahead of the game, BLM also continues to plan for widespread natural gas development through its Geographic Area Plans, which cover locations of focused development. Bennett said 100 wells are planned for the Grass Mesa field this year, with 16 on new well pads.”A lot of it is increasing subsurface density” to 10 acres between bores, Bennett said, which allows directional drilling to locate bores closer together below ground than on the surface.A GAP is also in process for the Orchard Unit near DeBeque where EnCana will drill four exploratory wells.”This is a relatively new area we’re seeing development in,” Bennett said.BLM is preparing a GAP for the Wheeler-Webster area east of Parachute Creek north of Interstate 70, where Williams Production is active. Williams expects to drill 134 new wells there over a two- to three-year period and 213 wells from existing locations, Bennett said.Windsor Energy plans to drill 98 wells over two to three years in the Castle Springs area on East Divide Creek, for which BLM prepared a GAP for 4,000 acres of federal land.The public is invited to comment on the GAPs for Orchard Unit and Wheeler-Webster. Environmental Assessments for the two areas will be completed this spring, Bennett said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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