Williams, EnCana shine as COGCC honors gas firms | PostIndependent.com

Williams, EnCana shine as COGCC honors gas firms

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted Photo Williams Production won a state award for completion of a tunnel (above) and road that reduced the drive to private leases northeast of Parachute by 83 miles. Williams and EnCana each won multiple outstanding operations awards from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. An increasing level of environmental accountability and public goodwill by major local natural gas producers has been recognized in recent awards given out by the state of Colorado.Williams Production and EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) nearly swept the honors when the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission gave out its 2006 Outstanding Operations Awards in August.Shell Frontier Oil and Gas also was honored in connection with its local operations. It and EnCana were singled out for agreements under which they provided continuing hunting access to their lands in the Piceance Creek/Roan Plateau area.Williams’ multiple awards include one for its construction of a 3,200-foot-long tunnel that greatly reduced the drive necessary to reach private gas leases northeast of Parachute.COGCC director Brian Macke said he thinks Williams and EnCana’s honors reflect the vigorousness of their local operations and their desire to reduce the related impacts. Garfield County is leading the state in drilling activity, and the two companies are the county’s two largest producers of natural gas.He said the companies’ large size probably gives them more resources to devote to reducing impacts. But he said the COGCC tries to emphasize that companies of all sizes can protect the public and environment.”I think every time one of these large operators does this kind of work, it raises the bar for everybody,” he said.Steve Soychak, Williams’ district manager, said a centralized hydraulic fracturing facility the company was recognized for reduces truck traffic, noise and dust and saves on fuel. “It’s a win-win for us and our neighbors,” he said.

Dean Tinsley, also of Williams, said the company appreciates being honored for the major investment it made in building the tunnel and an associated road.In 2004, EnCana was fined a record $371,200 by the COGCC after natural gas from its wells surfaced in West Divide Creek south of Silt. Macke thinks the company’s recent awards reflect a commitment since then to improve its management of local operations and adjust its drilling pace to comply better with state requirements.”I think when a company’s willing to step up and do those kind of changes to their operation, that it’s something that needs to be recognized and made widely known to everybody,” he said.Patrick Barker, an organizer with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, said it’s clear local operators such as Williams and EnCana have taken steps to reduce impacts.

“Things have changed a lot over the years, and it’s refreshing to see,” he said.Although smaller companies may have more bottom-line considerations, Barker said, he would like to see more widespread use of widely available technology and practices that reduce impacts.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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