From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):
Great Western Oil and Gas Co. is proposing to drill 19 new natural gas wells within the town of Windsor near the shore of the Poudre River. The wells will be drilled from two separate sites southwest of downtown near the Larimer-Weld county line, allowing the company to drill beneath residential neighborhoods remotely.
Some of the wells will be drilled beneath the Poudre River, and some will be drilled beneath homes using a method called “directional drilling.”
Here’s a report about oil and gas exploration and production produced water from Andrew Wineke writing for The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:
After the well is drilled, after the target formation is fractured and as the oil and gas begins flowing up the well, wastewater comes along with it. As Colorado Springs and El Paso County wrestle with the sudden interest in drilling in the area, what to do with that wastewater is a big concern.
As much as half of the fluid used to fracture the rock gradually returns to the surface as flowback water, emerging from the well along with the oil and gas over a period of weeks. Many rock formations, including the Niobrara, also contain water, often briny and laden with minerals, that comes out of the well as what is called produced water, over several years. “Produced water can be nasty, nasty stuff; other places you can drink it,” said Thom Kerr, acting director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which oversees oil and gas drilling in the state.
Getting rid of flowback and produced water is a challenge for drilling companies, since it’s generally too toxic to simply be poured out on the ground — although the state allows drillers to spread produced water on roads if it meets a purity standard. Some of the flowback fluid can be put through filters and reused at the next well.
Ultra Resources, a Houston, Texas-based oil company, is drilling three exploratory wells in El Paso County and has applied for permits to drill three more, two of those on Banning Lewis Ranch in Colorado Springs. The company isn’t recycling the water for those initial wells, officials say, but company officials say it will if it moves on to large-scale drilling.
Meanwhile, water providers are looking to cash in on sales to water haulers. Here’s a report from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:
[Platte River Power Authority] often sells its water for agricultural uses, but because all the region’s reservoirs are full, irrigators didn’t come to the utility looking to buy excess water this year, said Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat, who sits on the PRPA board of directors. “We’re sitting with surplus water,” she said. “There are several places that have asked us for excess water. Some are municipalities and others are the oil and gas industry directly.”
“We’re sitting with surplus water,” she said. “There are several places that have asked us for excess water. Some are municipalities and others are the oil and gas industry directly.” Now, she said, the PRPA board members must ask themselves if they’re comfortable with determining specifically where the excess water should go. “Do we sell it, or do we need the resources?” Weitkunat said. “I don’t know where everybody stands on this.”
Environmentalists, including Save the Poudre, are taking umbrage at the idea of selling the water to the energy industry because they’re unhappy that PRPA water from the Colorado River could be used for hydraulic fracturing, a water-intensive process they believe is harmful to human health and the environment.
Oil and gas exploration is heating up down by Del Norte. Here’s a report from Judith Stone writing for the Del Norte Prospector. From the article:
According to Wilson, oil companies often have the absolute right to drill, especially in connection with split estates, when the minerals are owned by the oil company and land by a surface owner. In that case, he said, oil companies can drill regardless of zoning or homeowner’s association laws. On the front range, Wilson said, companies are drilling within 300 feet of schools; in rural areas, the state limit is 150 feet within any property by right.
According to Wilson, the owner fares better when the mineral rights are part of the property, but he or she but can still have those rights taken by what is known as a “forced pool.” A forced pool says that part of the objector’s product is being extracted, so the rights must be pooled in order to determine each person’s share of revenues.
The only way to avoid any of this,Wilson emphasized, is to effect local county commissioner control now via home rule. By enacting home rule, Wilson said the commissioners can protect the land for its water users, citizens who like to breathe clean air, and everyone who enjoys a peaceful Valley.