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Oil and gas update

As part of continuing efforts to stay abreast of oil and gas development in El Paso County, the countyís local government designee, Diana May, held a meeting in June.Several interested parties were in attendance, including representatives from Ultra Petroleum, Upstream Petroleum Management, Inc., NexGen Oil & Gas, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissionís LGD and interested community members.Nancy Prince, the COGCCís LGD, discussed newly passed legislation that will affect the oil and gas industry. She said the main piece of legislation refers to requirements for reporting spills or releases of exploration and production waste or produced fluid. The previous rule stated that a spill or release of five barrels or more needed to be reported to the COGCC, she said. The new rule requires that spills or releases of one barrel or more must be reported, Prince said. She clarified that this rule does not apply to clean or fresh water spills or releases.The COGCC has also hired 17 new inspectors to conduct inspections on the well sites, Prince said. The new hires bring the total number to 28 inspectors out of a staff of 84, she said.Bob Davis, vice president of land for NexGen, said the company has completed 23 square miles of seismic testing in El Paso and Elbert counties and has picked two locations to drill wells. The Graham 1-13 well is in El Paso County, east of Davenport Road, where Judge Orr Road ends, he said. The Prescott Ranches 32-34 well is in Elbert County, south of County Road 34.Davis said the Graham 1-13 well will be drilled vertically, targeting the Niobrara and Cherokee ñ Atoka formations. ìWe may put small fracks (hydraulic fractures) in the source rock, but itís unknown if weíll need to at this point,î he said.ìWe anticipate that it will take 10 to 14 days to drill to the final depth. According to, the final depth will be somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Davis said he anticipates activity on those wells will begin by the third quarter of this year.Tom Wilson, drilling manager for Ultra, said the company has no plans for any activity in El Paso County at this time.May provided an update she received from Justin Furnace, corporate manager of external affairs for Hilcorp Energy Co. She said he indicated two things: Hilcorp will not be drilling the State well site; and, while the Myers site has been permitted and drilled, there will not be any more activity on it; and Hilcorp does not anticipate being involved in any more activity in EPC.Both Hilcorp well sites are located off Peyton Highway with State to the south and Myers to the north.May said that since oil and gas activity in EPC has tapered off, future LGD meetings will be held every four months, rather than every two. The next LGD meeting is Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. in the Pikes Peak Conference room at Centennial Hall.

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