Ursa community meeting update

Lo and behold, there was an Ursa community meeting in Rifle on Thursday night (9/26). Totally slipped under my radar. I thought I was on a mailing list with Ursa and the EAB. But I don’t think it was well-publicized. Maybe Ursa was afraid if I knew about it and announced it on my blog, then a whole bunch of people would show up at the meeting like the last time. Luckily Fiona Lloyd, fracktivist-at-large, received the secret message about the meeting and was able to decode it. She went to the meeting, enjoyed some luscious artichoke dip, and generously took the time to submit this report. We thank her! ~ FTS

Fiona LloydGuest Post by Fiona Lloyd,
RSPN organizer and Silt Mesa resident

Ursa’s Community Meeting was held last night in the fire station in Rifle. I think it is safe to say it was thinly attended. Reasons for this include that it is hunting season, it wasn’t held in Silt and the free food wasn’t emphasized. Personally I can eat my own bodyweight in warm artichoke dip, so I was happy.

Ursa was so overwhelmed by the attendance at the last community meeting they decided not to hold this one at the Holiday Express as it was too small a venue and they were told that the Silt Firehouse wasn’t available for Community meetings any more, so Rifle it was.

Ursa’s Don Simpson started the meeting with an overview of Ursa’s promises/plans from last time and then went on to tell us how each category had been fulfilled/addressed. If you were wondering what Ursa has been doing in the community, then you’re not a golfer, are you? Ursa has attended and/or sponsored 5 or 6 golf tournaments, bought a pig at the County Fair (later donated for a pig roast fund raiser for, I think it was the Fire Dept), sponsored a pumpkin carving competition in Rifle and the chili cook off in Silt.

More importantly they are supporting an Energy Degree scholarship at CMC and are participants and one of the funders of the AQC study by CSU.

They have hired locally for their Rifle Office, which is bigger than the Denver Office. Not only did they hire some of Antero’s employees, they also put some contractors on the payroll. When asked why they had a Denver Office, they replied that the Geologists etc that they wanted to hire wouldn’t move from Denver. And who can blame them?

Ursa have drilled several vertical wells and completed and fracked the F1H well, described as “not great” but that they were still refining the fracking technology. Later it emerged that they were trying different combinations of less sand or more water for example. They added another rig in July, an Xtreme 15 rig. This is a “baby rig” which is quieter to use. They also put up sound walls around the drill which contain both noise and dust.

Unsa’s plans for 2014 are to drill 38 wells, on the McLin, Monument, Monument Ridge, Speakman and Frei pads.

They also confirmed that they have agreed to be bought out of their Thompson Divide leases and that they have every expectation of being able to utilize their Roan Plateau leases. The two seemed to be linked in Don Simpson’s mind.

Ursa’s mission statement uses the word “sustainable” which clearly means different things to different people. To me, it means stuff like Solar or Wind, stuff that is infinite. To Ursa it means extracting a finite resource on the smallest well pad possible and, it emerged, using produced water. Wells in the Piceance tight sands produce 100% + water, meaning you get out more water than you put in. Not useable water, nasty water. If you also have, for example, Niobara wells, which only return 10% of your water, you’re golden, because you can put all your nasty water back down the hole during fracking. “Water is a problem,” said Pake Younger. “If you can manage your water it is economically viable to drill in the Piceance.” Extra wastewater (produced water) gets shipped to Utah in case you were wondering.

Pake confirmed that exporting gas to Asia was the ultimate goal of energy extraction and that yes, local prices would rise. “But not by very much,” he hastily added.

He also confirmed what many of us had suspected, that before 2005, “They didn’t know how to frack wells properly.” Cold comfort indeed.

As for the wells on the north side of the river [Silt Mesa] — there are no plans to drill more, and the ones that are already drilled will be tested again (flared) in 2 years, and then at 5 year intervals. Ursa emphasized they are not a pipeline company apart from “infill” pipelines to get gas to compressor stations.

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Ursa outlines natural gas well plans in Silt and Battlement Mesa areas through mid-2014

More than 30 natural gas wells were planned to be drilled or “worked over” in the Silt and Battlement Mesa areas through the middle of next year by Ursa Resources Group, company officials said at a Thursday, Sept. 26, community meeting in Rifle.

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