Garco may seek hearing on drilling plan | AspenTimes.com

Garco may seek hearing on drilling plan

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colo. ” Garfield County may request a state hearing for natural gas drilling being considered in the area of a housing subdivision just southwest of Rifle.

County commissioners this week authorized county oil and gas liaison Judy Jordan to request a hearing by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission if Laramie Energy II LLC seeks to drill from well pad locations in the area of the Rifle Village South subdivision.

“We will intervene if it’s a location that affects the neighborhood,” said Commissioner John Martin.

He said the county has 10 days following an approval of a well by COGCC staff to request a hearing before the commission.

Jordan said Laramie has shown an interest in drilling in the area of the subdivision, including recently talking to county road and bridge personnel about pipelines.

Laramie representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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Douglas White, a subdivision resident, said the company has been in touch with residents about drilling and has been seeking to come to lease agreements with those who own the mineral rights below their properties.

He said residents had been concerned about the possibility of drilling in some open space at the back end of the subdivision, but Laramie has indicated that won’t occur.

“They’re not even thinking about drilling in there. It’s too close to the houses; they can’t do that,” White said.

“That was one of the big concerns, was having stuff in close, tearing up the streets, safety with the kids and all of that.”

He said Laramie has done a better job of communicating with residents than had Petrogulf, which previously had oil and gas interests in area.

“Laramie’s done a lot of stuff, trying to put out information and trying to talk to people,” White said.

White said they have indicated they plan to do most of their drilling from on top of a nearby mesa.

He said Laramie is planning one well pad east of the nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church.

White said Laramie plans to do some drilling in the winter, when people aren’t outside much.

“That will probably help as far as noise and odor complaints,” he said.

White said there are probably 100-150 homes in the subdivision. Perhaps half own their mineral rights, and a Laramie official has indicated a majority of them have signed leases with Laramie, he said.

But White, who owns his mineral rights, said the subdivision lots typically are only a fraction of an acre, so the leases aren’t worth a lot.

“It’s not like it’s a big financial boon to anybody, so none of us are willing to put up with the ugliness of a rig close by,” he said.

He said Laramie has indicated that one well already drilled in the area of the subdivision wasn’t economically productive, and if it tried one more that had similar results it would give up on drilling more there.