Moffat County: The COGCC is requiring baseline testing of groundwater as a condition for most permits in the Niobrara shale play


From the Craig Daily Press (Joe Moylan):

Although groundwater testing is currently done on a voluntary basis by the energy industry, Kerr said the COGCC will mandate baseline testing of water wells, groundwater aquifers and springs as a condition of drilling permit approval.

The circumstances under which baseline testing must occur varies, Kerr said. Sometimes the COGCC requires groundwater testing based on the recommendations of local government officials, as was the case in the Raton Field of southeastern Colorado, the Piceance Basin near Rifle and the San Juan Basin outside of Durango. “In the San Juan Basin we wanted to do testing because they are working shallow coal seams, which are very close to the ground water aquifers,” Kerr said…

“We like to have baseline testing done in areas that are new to exploration and development,” Kerr said. “That part of the Niobrara is right in the midst of the exploration play, and we have made (baseline) testing a requirement for most of the companies working there.”

So far, the big players in Moffat County are Shell Oil Company, Quicksilver Resources and Gulfport Energy…

Baseline testing is simply choosing water wells near a proposed drill site and checking for the presence of certain chemicals and natural gas. Chemical presence may occur naturally along with natural gas, but companies are required to return to water well test sites a year after drilling is complete to see if chemical or natural gas levels have changed. In some instances, companies may be required to return to test water wells again three and six years after drilling is complete.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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