Four Mile drilling is for storing natural gas, not producing it |

Four Mile drilling is for storing natural gas, not producing it

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A well to be drilled by SourceGas up Four Mile Road this fall isn’t part of a new endeavor to produce natural gas there, a company official says.In fact, the company will just be using the well to pump out gas that it stores underground, Natalie Shelbourn of SourceGas said.SourceGas is a retail gas distribution company, not an exploration and production company, she said.It has an existing underground storage field in the Wolf Creek area off Four Mile Road, in Pitkin County far above Sunlight Mountain Resort.”Basically the new well is going to allow us to expand the deliverability of natural gas to our customers during high-volume usage times,” Shelbourn said.The Wolf Creek area, which is some 10,000 feet in elevation, was drilled for natural gas decades ago and now is used to store gas in depleted fields about 8,000 feet deep.The region’s current gas boom has been focused on western Garfield County. But EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) raised concerns among Glenwood Springs city officials in 2005 with its plans to drill an exploratory well in the Wolf Creek area that summer. The city worried that drilling-related traffic headed up Four Mile Road could further congest its streets.EnCana’s plans theoretically could have led to as many as 60 wells being drilled, but that never occurred. EnCana spokesman Doug Hock said that while it still has some leases in the area, it is not actively pursuing drilling there and has no immediate plans for doing so.SourceGas obtained U.S. Forest Service approval for its plans. It will drill directionally from an existing well pad to minimize surface disturbance. The Forest Service has closed a two-mile stretch of Forest Service Road 321 for safety reasons, and to allow the drilling rig to operate from the road to further minimize surface impacts.Forest Service spokesperson Sally Spaulding said the closure could affect some hunters, but the agency is trying to protect forest resources, and the road also isn’t a main thoroughfare for the public.Shelbourn said the drilling shouldn’t result in any big increases in traffic.She said the well will increase the ability of SourceGas to access gas for local customers at times of high demand, such as during winter cold spells.It also enables the company to buy gas at the lowest cost possible and store it for future use, reducing the price for customers, she said.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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