COGCC to cite EnCana for drilling violation
By Jeremy Heiman
Special to the Post Independent
Officials of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission have said they will cite EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. for starting to drill two gas wells south of Silt before receiving the proper permits.
EnCana, a multinational corporation, is the company with the largest stake in gas development in Garfield County.
Brian Macke, deputy director of the COGCC, said the actual citation, called a notice of alleged violation, has yet to be issued, but Macke said EnCana has already been informed of the violation.
“We will be issuing an NOAV,” Macke said Thursday. “We have spoken with the operator, and they are aware that it will be issued.”
The two wells in question were to be drilled from the same well pad as two others, for which the COGCC had already issued permits. The company began a preliminary drilling process, called “setting conductor pipe,” for all four wells this week, at approximately the same time, instead of waiting to receive the second pair of permits.
“On the two where they had no permit, this does consist of a violation of our rule,” Macke said.
The location of the pad is just south of Johns Drive, off Dry Hollow Road. The permitted wells are Kelly 34-13 and Kelly 34-14.
Macke said he doesn’t know what fine, if any, could be assessed for such a violation. After the notice is actually issued, the next step will be for EnCana to explain how the alleged violation happened.
“We’ll be receiving EnCana’s explanation and taking it from there,” Macke said.
The violation was brought to the attention of the COGCC by Doug Dennison, Garfield County oil and gas auditor, Macke said.
Sher Long, community liaison for EnCana, said there was apparently some internal miscommunication at EnCana that led to the crews jumping the gun on the drilling process.
“EnCana does expect to be held accountable,” Long said.
Setting conductor pipe is done with a small drilling device, before the familiar tall drilling rig is brought to the site, Macke said.
Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext. 534
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