EnCana pulls the plug on well in roadless area | PostIndependent.com

EnCana pulls the plug on well in roadless area

Post Independent/Donna Gray

A prospective natural gas well in a designated roadless area in the White River National Forest has been removed from EnCana’s summer drilling schedule and is now being reclaimed. In consultation with the Forest Service last June, EnCana made the decision not to drill its L15SW well, on Middle Mamm Creek and east of Battlement Mesa.Although much of the area, including most of the 4,450 acres which were offered for oil and gas leasing earlier this week in the Mamm Creek area, only would allow directional drilling with no surface disturbance, EnCana was authorized to drill there. It has held a lease to the location since the 1980s, said EnCana spokesman Doug Hock.Last summer the company constructed a two-mile road into the area from the Forest Service boundary and also constructed a three-acre well pad.

“What we found when we were drilling (two wells close by), was we weren’t getting as much production (as hoped for),” Hock said. EnCana questioned the economic viability of the prospective well. It was decided it wasn’t viable “at this time.”The $50,000 reclamation began last week at the well pad where earth movers reconfigured the soils to mimic the natural contours of the land. The area will also be reseeded. Friday, crews in heavy road-making equipment were at work churning up the road and collecting larger cobbles that had been laid down to construct the road into the well pad.The road bed will be covered with topsoil and compost and seeded with a Forest Service-approved grass mix, said EnCana reclamation coordinator Bryan Whiteley.

Whiteley’s crew will also carve shallow ditches lined with geotextile and place logs across the road to prevent water runoff and soil erosion. The biodegradable geotextile is used to prevent soil erosion and will disappear in approximately 12 months.”If conditions are ideal, we could have growth by June (of next year),” Whiteley said.Reclamation is expected to be completed early next week. “The official (Forest Service) deadline is Aug. 21,” he said.

Once the reclamation is completed, “access will be closed to motorized use unless authorized,” said Forest Service engineering technician Karla Mobley. In fact, the only previous access into the area was via the Battlement Trail, suitable only for hikers and horseback riders, which is used by outfitters during hunting season.”It will go back to being a rut area,” Whiteley said of the reclaimed road and well pad, where elk congregate to breed.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com

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