Town eyes renewal of gas lease to Antero Resources |

Town eyes renewal of gas lease to Antero Resources

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

SILT, Colorado – The town’s Board of Trustees meets tonight at Town Hall to debate whether to renew more than 75 “net mineral acres” in natural-gas leases to the Antero Resources drilling company.

Town administrator Pamela Woods said the three-year agreement will bring in “about $180,000 a year” to the town’s coffers.

The lease, which expired on April 29, gave Antero the right to drill for natural gas deposits deep underground in several areas within the town.

A map of the lease areas is available from Town Hall.

The measurement “net mineral acre,” according to a memo from town attorney Lee Leavenworth, is used when rights are owned by more than one party.

Leavenworth wrote that, for example, if the lessor owns 100 percent of the minerals underlying one acre, that equals one net mineral acre.

But if only 50 percent of the minerals underlying one acre are owned by the lessor, that constitutes half of a net mineral acre.

Leavenworth’s memo did not contain any breakdown of the town’s mineral rights ownership.

According to Leavenworth, the town first signed a lease with Antero in 2005, for a period of three years.

In 2008, the town renewed a portion of the lease, covering only some of the acreage contained in the initial lease, and extending the agreement for another three years.

A lease on the same acreage as was covered in the 2008 extension, known as sections nine, 10 and 11, would be renewed again under the pending lease agreement, according to Leavenworth.

But the new lease would add two new leasing agreements for areas known as Tracts 13 and 14.

The new lease agreement would extend the lease “to a depth below which wells are currently drilled in the unit in which these parcels are located,” according to Leavenworth’s memo.

Leavenworth wrote that the sections mentioned are producing gas at the depths already reached, but the company is interested in drilling 100 feet deeper to get to another level of the Mancos geologic formation.

Leavenworth has recommended that the Board of Trustees agree to the lease amendment and extension.

In other action, the trustees will:

• consider a proposal to pay the town’s trustees extra for attending special meetings, beyond the two regular meetings held every month. The funds, according to town administrator Pamela Woods, would come from the applicant who requests the special meeting.

• hold a public hearing to consider a recommendation to zone the Silt River Preserve as a “public utility” area. According to a memo to the trustees, the public utility zone is the only one “suitable for the property, as the property is neither commercial nor residential.”

The meeting is to begin at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, and is estimated to conclude by 9 p.m.

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