Garco leads state in drilling activity

Donna GrayGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY Garfield County continues to grow as one of the prime hot spots for natural gas development in the state. Currently, the county has about a a third of all new drilling permits issued in the state, said Brian Macke, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Macke presented an update on natural gas drilling and production to the quarterly meeting of the Northwest Oil and Gas Forum in DeBeque Thursday.While Weld County has most of the active wells, Garfield is seeing the most development. There are 3,600 active wells in Garfield County and almost 12,000 in Weld.However, activity in 2007 is expected to be about the same as last year because of soft gas prices, Macke said.Garfield will continue to lead in the number of permits issued this year, accounting for about one third of the number issued statewide, Macke said. Northwest Colorado accounts for about 44 percent of the drilling permits in the state.The commission has also started tracking the number of wells drilled directionally from a well pad. A relatively new technology that allows drills to be aimed at an angle to penetrate the underlying rock formations, it allows multiple wells to be drilled from one well pad.Currently, 93 percent of the wells in Garfield County are drilled directionally compared to about 30 percent of the wells in Weld County, Macke said.