At the COGCC rulemaking hearing last month industry representatives predicted that future well pads will be constructed closer to municipal boundaries, and that low prices are forcing operators to use larger well pads. Anadarko Petroleum expects 40 percent of future wells will be near or within municipal boundaries.
Welcome to your future, Coloradans!
After three days of testimony and questioning, Garfield County commissioners this afternoon unanimously approved applications from Ursa Resources to drill within the Battlement Mesa residential development.
The decision carried a lot of heartache and a lot of angst, both of which are likely to continue, Commissioner John Martin said just before the first vote.
Approval of the applications for phase one of Ursa’s plans within the Planned Unit Development comes with more than 70 conditions intended to mitigate the impacts of operations, particularly in the drilling and completion phases. The latter phase involves hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking.
In remarks prior to voting, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said numerous factors were at play.
“This discussion has to deal with drilling within the … Battlement Mesa PUD,” Jankovsky said. “But it also has to deal with property rights and state laws and is this request compatible with existing uses … all those things have been in play.”
The few opponents in attendance were visibly disappointed with the outcome.
Phase one plans, which include a total of 52 natural gas wells and 2.5 miles of pipeline, still must go through the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
“We’re really halfway there,” said Rob Bleil, regulatory and environmental manager for Ursa.
Previously, documents and statements indicated a total of 53 wells, however, further discussion Thursday clarified that one of the wells was a placeholder for a potential injection well in the future, which would require another special use permit from the county and additional permitting at the state level.
Ursa submitted its state applications in early December and expects a decision on them within 90 days.