Antero sees the light

Denver, CO, April 1, 2011 – In a surprise noon announcement today Antero Resources said the company is shutting down natural gas drilling operations in the Piceance Basin. The statement said,  “In the coming months operations will convert to capping all existing wells in the region and well pad cleanup, as well as land reclamation.” However the company has no plans to close the regional office in Rifle. Instead Antero will be investing in solar and wind technology and plans to continue leasing land for placement of solar collector panels and strategically placed windmills and windmill farms.

When reached for comment at the Rifle office, Antero’s VP Production Kevin Kilstrom explained, “Last summer and fall the sun and heat were relentless. Out at the drill sites the past winter and this spring workers have been dealing with ferocious winds. The bottom line is, the weather affects the company’s productivity. A couple weeks ago we were out at the Ferro Ranch drill site inspecting the damage after a fifty mile an hour windstorm raced through. Jon Black said, ‘We have this amazing technology that allows us to pool natural gas and suck it out of the ground. But we can’t do a thing about the weather.’ I looked down at that fracking hole in the ground and had one of those a-ha moments. I said, ‘Did you hear what you just said? We’ve got all the energy we need above ground. It’s a no-brainer’. On the personal side, through our recent negotiations with the local people we’ve actually grown to love them. We think they like us, too. We’d like to make this place our home. We don’t want to frack it up anymore.”

An unnamed attorney speaking by phone to reporters from Antero’s Denver office said today’s decision was “not in any way related” to a flood of lawsuits anticipated from local residents on Silt Mesa and Battlement Mesa in the coming months.

The announcement sent shock waves through financial markets with investors worried about the potential risks of implementing solar and wind technology during the current recession. One analyst said, “I live and work in Manhattan and I haven’t seen the sun in weeks. And any idiot knows you need skyscrapers to produce wind. This is folly.”

Local residents in western Garfield County appeared stunned at the news. Fiona Lloyd of the RSPN Alliance said, “You’re kidding, right?”

In a related story –

Faced with having to re-apply for his position as part of Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper’s effort to deliver efficient services, COGCC Director Dave Neslin announced he will be moving on to “greener fields – uh, pastures”. He said he plans to “strongly recommend” former COGCC member Trési Houpt as his replacement. When reached for comment former Garfield County Commissioner Houpt said, “I sent in my application last Monday. But thanks anyway, Dave.”

In an even more related story –

Soon-to-be-former COGCC Director Dave Neslin has purchased several tracts of land on Battlement Mesa. The land is currently leased by Antero Resources.

In other news —

Chevron quietly locked the door and walked away from their Shale Technology International pilot plant in Rifle also at noon today. Chevron had been developing the process for oil shale extraction which local residents had feared would turn western Colorado into “like, the planet Mars or at least as bad as Utah.”

When reached for comment Chevron executive O.M. Gee said, “Those folks at Antero are really on to something. We’ve been dealing with the ravages of sun and wind in the region for decades. It got so bad this year we had to start collecting and storing solar rays and harnessing the wind just so the weather wouldn’t interfere with our oil shale research. That’s when it hit us.”

In still other news –

Mother Nature called at noon. She wants her planet back saying, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.”

Ok, just one more –

At 12:01 p.m., a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck in Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta 10 miles SW of Fort McMurray.

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