GarCo issues record number of natural gas drilling permits
Post Independent Staff
Garfield County remains on the forefront of natural gas development and production in the state. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reported that 40 percent of the activity in the state is happening in Garfield County, “which is an all-time high,” COGCC spokesman Jaime Adkins said.
The report was presented at the Northwest Oil and Gas Forum in Rifle Wednesday.
While Weld County still leads in the number of active wells, 11,314, Garfield is second with 2,905.
“A new (well) is drilled every 15 to 20 days,” Adkins said.
Garfield will see 1,800 drilling permits issued by year end, Adkins said, also a record.
Gas producers in Garfield County also reported on their activities in the last quarter. EnCana, the largest producer in the area, reported 177 wells drilled to date in its south Piceance operations and estimates it will drill 190 by the end of the year. It has 450 wells producing 330 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas a day, EnCana spokesman David Grisso said. In its north Piceance field, the company will have drilled 73 wells by year’s end and will be producing 85 mmcf per day, Grisso said. The company expects to drill 400 wells in 2006.
Williams, the second largest producer in Garfield County, now has 1,240 wells producing 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, said Williams district manager Steve Soychak.
“That’s somewhat of a milestone,” he said. “That’s enough to heat 1.8 million homes and a 33 percent increase from the second half of last year.”
This year the company will have drilled 290 wells in Garfield and Rio Blanco counties with the majority in Garfield. In 2006, the company projects it will drill 400 wells and 450 in 2007, Soychak said.
Also reporting on end of the year activity was the Bureau of Land Management, which administers energy development on federal lands in Colorado.
The agency has also seen an exponential increase in drilling activity in the last year. In 2004, the Glenwood Springs BLM office issued 285 drilling permits and estimates it will issue over 400 this year, said Steve Bennett, assistant field manager of the BLM Glenwood Springs office.
Besides granting drilling permits, the agency is also working on granting rights of way for seven new natural gas pipelines. Among them are three 20-inch lines near Rifle, Battlement Mesa and West Divide Creek that will deliver locally produced gas to pipelines connecting with national markets.
Bennett also said the BLM is preparing the final resource management plan for the Roan Plateau following extensive meetings between the agency, local governments and state agencies in July and August.
He said the finished document is due for publication in September followed by a 30 day protest period, and an open-ended protest resolution period. The agency would likely adopt the plan in 2007.
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