EnCana plans pipeline construction in August
Post Independent Staff
EnCana Oil and Gas has five state and federal permits in hand, but must receive a Garfield County special use permit before it starts construction on a 10-mile, 24-inch natural gas line from Flat Iron Mesa south of Rifle, to a compressor facility west of Rifle.
The county has received no comments opposing the project, said county planner Mark Bean. The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance outlined its concerns in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but does not oppose the project, said alliance member Peggy Utesch.
The Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the pipeline Wednesday, July 9. The permit application goes to the Garfield County Commissioners Monday, July 21.
EnCana plans to begin construction on the project Aug. 1, and expects to wrap it up in 17 weeks, according to the company’s 21-page plan of development.
The project will employ approximately 60 construction workers, said EnCana spokesperson Sher Long.
“We hope to employ as many locals as possible,” she said.
Construction will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Owners of private roads along the route will be notified at least 24 hours in advance of road closings, according to the company’s plan. Access to and from residences will be maintained at all times, unless EnCana gets permission from the landowner.
The pipeline’s route starts at EnCana’s Pumba compressor facility, 4.5 miles south of Rifle. It goes in a northwesterly direction between Grass Mesa and Taughenbaugh Mesa before terminating at the company’s West Rifle Facility west of Rifle.
The pipeline, called the Hunter Mesa Gathering Pipeline, will cross 21,266 feet of BLM property, said BLM realty specialist Vaughn Hackett. Long said the pipeline also crosses eight pieces of privately owned property.
The pipeline will cross under the Colorado River and Interstate 70 for 3,800 feet through a 36-inch bore, Long said. The bore will be done using directional drilling.
The pipeline will be able to transport up to 200 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day, and will replace a 12-inch line that can carry 130 million cubic feet.
“The 24-inch line will handle all future production without the need for additional piping,” according to the company’s plan.
From the West Rifle facility, the gas will be sent to the Roan Cliff compressor station, then through a Williams Energy pipeline to the TransColorado Pipeline. The gas will ultimately be delivered to users in northern New Mexico, western Colorado and Utah.
The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance’s comments included a reclamation plan for BLM property. Hackett said after construction, the pipeline corridor will be seeded with a mix that includes natural grasses, forbs, sage, snowberry, serviceberry and four-wing saltbush.
The BLM reduced the pipeline’s right of way corridor from 75 feet to 50 feet, Hackett said.
Hackett said construction on BLM land must be completed by Dec. 1 to prevent disturbing big game.
Besides Garfield County’s pending special use permit, EnCana also obtained permits from the BLM, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Hackett said the new EnCana pipeline isn’t the only large pipeline that goes through BLM lands in Garfield County.
KN Energy built a pipeline over Cottonwood Pass to Eagle 10 years ago, Hackett said. Williams has a 20-inch pipeline that goes from Parachute to DeBeque, and Questar has a pipeline that goes along Highway 13 north of Rifle to the Piceance Creek area.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of natural gas pipelines in Garfield County,” he said.
Earlier in the year, EnCana announced plans to drill 200 new gas wells in its Mamm Creek gas field south of Silt this year.
Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534
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