Drilling may re­turn in Boul­der County

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Anthony Hahn Jeremy Papasso, Daily Cam­era

Cre­stone Peak Re­sources’ bid to de­velop 216 drilling wells along Boul­der County’s east­ern reaches could be re­al­ized as soon as 2019, com­pany of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The Den­ver-based op­er­a­tor plans to de­velop a 12square-mile oil field near U.S. 287 and Colorado 52 be­tween Long­mont and Lafayette.

The com­pany will re­lease an in­for­ma­tion pack­age — in­clud­ing a de­tailed map of where cer­tain wells, pipe­lines and roads used to de­velop the oil field will be lo­cated on the site — to the pub­lic by the end of Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to a sched­ule rec­om­mended by the Colorado Oil & Gas Con­ser­va­tion Com­mis­sion.

A fi­nal ver­sion of the com­pre­hen­sive drilling plan could ap­pear in front of the COGCC as early as March.

Cre­stone’s CDP ap­pli­ca­tion — an ap­proach that gives reg­u­la­tors room to shape rules as they go — is the first to be filed along Colorado’s Front Range, ac­cord­ing to as­sis­tant Boul­der County at­tor­ney Kate Burke.

“On the Front Range, there is a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion go­ing on where there are mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tors with min­eral in­ter­ests in over­lap­ping ar­eas,” Burke said ear­lier this year upon an­nounce­ment of the plans. “The dif­fer­ence in this process is that it pro­vides for more co­or­di­na­tion.”

The bun­dled ap­pli­ca­tion would likely take the next year and a half to work its way through both state and county ap­proval, said Cre­stone spokesman Jason Oates.

“There’s so many dif­fer­ent agen­cies that need to be in­volved,” Oates said, “so in­stead of do­ing them in a se­ries, we felt like if we (bring ev­ery­one) to the ta­ble at once, we’re not get­ting con­flict­ing guid­ance from each group. We can dis­cuss in a more col­lab­o­ra­tive way and hope­fully get to a so­lu­tion that meets ev­ery­body’s needs.”

The pro­posal will first go through state reg­u­la­tory scru­tiny be­fore the com­pany brings it to the county next year, he said.

Oates says that the com­pany has no in­ten­tion of drilling be­fore 2019.

Boul­der County un­til May had a five-year ban on pro­cess­ing all new drilling ap­pli­ca­tions. Un­der scru­tiny from the in­dus­try and a law­suit from Colorado’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, the county lifted its mora­to­rium on May 1.

De­spite the broad­ened ap­proach, res­i­dents liv­ing within those 12-square miles have found them­selves in the cross hairs of one the county’s po­ten­tially largest frack­ing projects at a time of deep mis­trust in the in­dus­try.

“My big­gest con­cern over­all is that (Cre­stone) is mak­ing de­ci­sions on a daily ba­sis that we know noth­ing about,” said Nan­ner Fisher, whose home sits in cen­ter of the com­pany’s drilling plans. “They may have a dead­line set, but once that dead­line comes, what voice as a peo­ple do we have?”

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