Encana says coal bed methane not looking viable | PostIndependent.com

Encana says coal bed methane not looking viable

Half of the natural gas drilling rigs grinding away in Colorado are doing so in Garfield County, with most of the remainder in Weld and La Plata counties.Here’s another oil and gas industry statistic. The federal government estimates there is 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Piceance Basin, which is centered in western Garfield County. The gas could fuel Colorado’s needs for 280 years, based on today’s use.Those observations came from the morning session of Thursday’s quarterly Oil and Gas Forum held at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle. Nearly 100 people turned out for the session, which included western Garfield residents affected by natural gas exploration, dozens of oil and gas industry representatives, and state and local officials, including Garfield County Commissioners John Martin and Trsi Houpt.The agenda included:-Drilling updates from Williams Production, EnCana Oil and Gas, Calpine and Mesa Hydrocarbons.-An update on northwest Colorado oil and gas activity.-An overview from Garfield County oil and gas auditor Doug Dennison.-A discussion of local geology.-An operations update from EnCana.Brian Macke, deputy director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, told the audience the state has issued 210 drilling permits in Garfield County so far this year, and he expects that to reach an all-time high of 400 to 450 by year’s end. Last year’s total was 362.Garfield County oil and gas auditor Doug Dennison briefed the gathering on his duties as liaison between the public and the oil and gas industry.He is planning some county meetings and forums on gas drilling later this summer. EnCana is drilling the most natural gas wells in Garfield County, and company representatives from the Denver office attended.Grass Mesa resident Garland Anderson asked EnCana’s Joel Fox of Denver about the coal bed methane wells the company is drilling in the Divide Creek area.”It’s not looking commercial,” Fox said.Fox said market prices aren’t the determining factor in EnCana’s decision on whether to continue with coal bed methane wells. “It’s the cost of getting the gas out of the hole,” he said.Fox said the company plans to drill in West Garfield County for three to five more years.The expected lifetime for wells is approximately 30 years, oil and gas industry representatives have said, although production declines over time.Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forums have been held in one form or another since 1989, and are co-hosted by Garfield County, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado. The next forum is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 16.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534lburton@postindependent.com

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