Exec says Laramie wont force drilling site on Rifle subdivision
RIFLE An energy executive promised Wednesday that his company wont force an undesirable drilling site on residents of the Rifle Village South subdivision.Ken Leis, director of land for Laramie Energy II, LLC, was responding to concerns from some residents about the proximity of a possible well pad site to the subdivision, which is southwest of town and has about 100 homes.We certainly never had any intentions of going in there and running over people and saying you guys dont have a choice, Leis said in an interview.Laramie has applied to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to drill from a well pad near the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Some residents of the nearby subdivision fear the noise, traffic, air pollution and other impacts the drilling could have on their neighborhood.Garfield County commissioners plan to consider on Dec. 3 whether to ask for a COGCC hearing on Laramies proposal.Leis said Laramie hasnt made a final decision on where it wants to put its drill pad. He said the intention of its permit application was to get the clock rolling with the state because it can take 90 days to get a permit approved. But he said the company is continuing to look at alternative drilling sites in the area.We know that were in a very sensitive area, Leis said.He said its even possible that Laramie would forgo any drilling in the area of the subdivision, though that could mean passing up on developing some 20 wells over about 200 acres. That could have a severe financial impact on Laramie, he said.Leis said Laramie ruled out another possible well site because its impacts on the subdivision would have been too severe. He said the company doesnt yet have a final surface use agreement with the landowner on the currently considered site, and it never drills without such agreements, despite a state provision allowing it to do so if it posts a bond.Laramie Energy does not operate that way, he said.He said he and others involved with Laramie have a long history of responsible development in the region.Theres 50 landowners you could call and every one of them would have nothing but praise for how weve operated, Leis said.Leis worked with Mesa Hydrocarbons, which drilled some 80 wells in the Mamm Creek area starting in 1998 and was purchased by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA). Principals from that company formed Laramie Energy in 2004. It drilled about 150 wells in the Collbran area, Leis said.Plains Exploration & Production in Houston bought the company. Then Laramie Energy II was formed, and bought Petrogulfs oil and gas interests in the Taughenbaugh Mesa area above the subdivision. He said its not possible to directionally drill beneath the subdivision from the mesa. Drilling from Bureau of Land Management land is a possibility, but that land poses topographical challenges, he said.Jim Golden, a Rifle Village South resident who has raised concerns with county commissioners about Laramies tentative drilling site, said hes glad the company is saying it may not drill there, but its hard to trust such talk.This is a tense situation. Its hard to rely on someones word or anybodys word until its done, he said.He said residents may suggest some alternative drilling locations and see if they are feasible to Laramie.Contact Dennis Webb: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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