Third annual Expo bigger and better |

Third annual Expo bigger and better

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Jim Weldon, left, of the ForeRunner Corporation speaks with Silt resident Walt Wieben during Wednesday's Energy Expo at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle. Dozens of community and energy related businesses took part in th event.

If there was any indication the third annual EnCana Energy Expo would be a big success, it was the parking lot at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, which was full even before the doors opened.The 2005 Expo featured more than 60 booths with energy companies looking for workers, government agencies, industry associations and environmental groups handing out information.New this year was EnCana’s eight-part exhibit, “Life of a Well,” which tells the story of how natural gas is located, accessed and brought to market.

Both Colorado Mountain College and Mesa State College offered information about their training programs for people wanting to work in the oil and gas field. In collaboration with Red Rocks Community College in Denver, CMC now offers an associate of applied science degree in process technology, said CMC Rifle dean Pam Arsenault. The two-year program provides basic college courses as well as specialized courses in gas extraction, oil refining and water reclamation, among others.”What I want is for people to have options,” Arsenault said.The Bureau of Land Management had topographic maps set up at its booth showing existing and approved wells in Garfield County. Doug Dennison, the Garfield County oil and gas auditor, was on hand to provide information about the industry and government regulation.

The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, a local environmental watchdog group, was parked in a strategic location just inside the door of the fairgrounds arena where the Expo took place. The group was formed in 1997 in response to a decision by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to reduce gas-well spacing from one well on every 320 acres to one every 40 acres. Among the handy information GVCA handed out was local and state government and legislator contact information.Many companies were there “just for the exposure,” said Jim Weldon, business development manager for ForeRunner Corp., which provides project management, engineering design and field services to oil and gas companies. ForeRunner is currently constructing a compressor station for El Paso Gas’ large pipeline from the Piceance Basin into Wyoming.Weldon said the Lakewood-based company, which has about 200 employees, is looking for project engineers and landmen. The natural-gas boom in western Garfield County means plenty of work for the myriad businesses that contribute to the industry.

“This is the Persian Gulf of gas,” Weldon said of the area. “It’s just getting explosive.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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