Hearing on Silt area well density delayed | AspenTimes.com

Hearing on Silt area well density delayed

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

SILT, Colo. – A much-anticipated hearing before the state’s gas industry overseers, scheduled for Nov. 29 in Denver, has been put off until late January.

The hearing, before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, involves an application by Antero Resources to increase the density of its gas-well drilling in the Silt Mesa and Peach Valley areas.

The company wants to step up its drilling from one well per 160 acres to one well per 10 acres, initially within one 640-acre section.

Company officials have said the well bores will be drilled horizontally, a technique that yields 20 wells per well pad or more, and will not mean a gas drilling derrick every 10 acres.

But residents have risen in opposition, concerned about increased truck traffic on roads through the well-populated areas, and about the possibility that the greater well density translates into a higher likelihood of accidents and contamination of area groundwater from the drilling activities.

Garfield County has filed a notice to intervene in the application on behalf of the neighbors, and county attorney Don DeFord was in the midst of preparing his case when news arrived of the postponement on Nov. 17.

He said he learned from a telephone call that the postponement was requested by Antero, though he did not know why.

Still scheduled, however, is a pre-hearing conference on Nov. 23, which will take place before a hearing officer and provide an opportunity “to sort out procedural issues” and other administrative details, DeFord said.

The hearing itself is now scheduled for the Jan. 13-14 meetings, also in Denver.