Forum reveals a low-key year in the Garfield County gas patch |

Forum reveals a low-key year in the Garfield County gas patch

Drew Munro
Post Independent Staff

RIFLE — So far this year, oil and gas development in Garfield County has largely been a matter of maintaining the status quo against a backdrop of the highest levels of statewide oil and gas production ever.

With few exceptions, that was the message from speaker after speaker Thursday morning at Colorado Mountain College’s Rifle campus during a low key Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum.

“We’re on a track that’s a little bit behind where we were last year,” Kirby Wynn, Garfield County’s oil and gas liaison, said in summing up the state of the local industry this year.

He said there are 14 active drilling rigs in Garfield County and noted the presence of a new player in the county, Black Diamond Minerals LLC. No one from the company was present to talk about the operation because they were on the drilling site, Wynn said, adding the company is operating near the south end of Beaver Creek Road south of Rifle.

Black Diamond’s website describes the company as a Denver-based independent oil and gas company. The company website shows operations on the northern Colorado Front Range, in Wyoming and Oklahoma.

Chris Canfield, a Northwest Region environmental protection specialist with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, presented a snapshot of oil and gas development in the county and across the state.

Colorado oil production, he said, is at its highest level since 1961, and gas production statewide is at an all time high. He said the Colorado rig count, while down substantially from last decade’s boom, has been “increasing gradually over the last year.”

Garfield County continues to play a major role, particularly with respect to gas, he said, noting there are 10,444 wells here. Only Weld County, with 20,554 wells, has more.

According to various presenters, current drilling operations in Garfield County include:

• WPX Energy: seven rigs operating, six in the Parachute Valley and one in Ryan Gulch, producing 820 million cubic feet (mcf) of natural gas per day, including one horizontal well drilled into the Niobrara Formation that has produced 1.7 billion cubic feet during its first 250 days of operation;

• Encana Corporation: five rigs operating, producing 720 mcf per day;

• Ursa Resources Group: one rig operating not far south of Divide Creek.

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