Williams plans to drill 213 wells near Parachute
Garfield County soon will see even more gas drilling and wells.Garfield County soon will see even more gas drilling and wells.The Bureau of Land Management revamped an existing gas development plan, updating a 2-year-old environmental assessment that covers a drilling area north of Interstate 70 between Parachute and Rulison. The plan will include 213 new wells Williams Production RMT has proposed, said Bill Barter, natural resource specialist for the BLM.”It’s just the sheer volume of wells,” Barter said.The Wheeler to Webster Geographic Area Plan and associated EA were prepared two years ago to cover Williams drilling for a two- to three-year period. Williams is already active in that area.”The reason for the new wells is because Williams got permission for 10-acre down-hole spacing after the original GAP was completed in 2002,” Barter said. At that time, Williams was allowed to have 40-acre separation between wells at the bottom of a well bore. Those wells were drilled vertically, Barter said. But since the development of directional drilling, more than one well bore can be drilled from one well pad.”Now you can have seven to eight wells from one pad,” Barter said.Williams’ new proposal, which an amended EA will cover, calls for the new wells drilled from 12 new well pads and 47 existing pads. No new surface disturbance is planned that is not already approved under the 2002 EA, Barter said.The data collected for the original EA, covering wildlife, water quality and other potential environmental impacts, “in all likelihood is still good,” Barter said.But the BLM will require Williams to conduct a new air quality study.”It’s a bigger issue now,” Barter said. Baseline air quality data was collected for the BLM’s Roan Plateau Environmental Impact Statement, and it may be applicable to the Webster-Wheeler plan, Barter said, although samples gathered on the plateau might not reflect conditions on the valley floor. “Up to 10 wells could be drilled from a single pad,” said Dave Cesark, principal environmental specialist with Williams. “We’re going back to existing well pads to try to squeeze new wells on without enlarging the pads. I don’t think it’s been done before to drill so many wells from existing infrastructure.”The BLM is inviting public comment on the development proposal before it issues the EA. Comments are due by March 30. They should be directed to Bill Barter via e-mail, Bill_Barter@blm.gov, by calling 947-2838 or sent to the field office manager, BLM, Glenwood Springs Field Office, P.O. Box 1009, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.The BLM is inviting public comment on the development proposal before it issues the EA. Comments are due by March 30. They should be directed to Bill Barter via e-mail, Bill_Barter@blm.gov, by calling 947-2838 or sent to the field office manager, BLM, Glenwood Springs Field Office, P.O. Box 1009, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.
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