Oil & gas issues in Routt County
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Steamboat Springs Several energy exploration companies that are new to Routt County are applying for permits to drill oil wells here. They include J-W Operating Co., a division of Dallas-based J-W Energy; Entek GRB, which already is drilling actively in the Slater Dome Field in Moffat County; Omimex Resources; and Continental Resources, which bills itself as a top 10 oil producer in the U.S. and the largest leaseholder in the Bakken Field of North Dakota. True Oil also is seeking to drill its second well here.
Routt County Planning Department Director Chad Phillips said Wednesday that 13 oil and gas drilling permits are in various stages of the approval process in his office, including Shell Oil’s recently approved Dawson Creek permit.
When applicants that have state permits but have not applied to the county are considered, the total number of potential wells to be permitted in the future grows to 17, according to the Planning Department.
The Dawson Creek permit is awaiting the routine approval by the Routt County Board of Commissioners of the minutes from its public hearing before the permit is sent to the company for its signature, Phillips said.
Another approved permit, Quicksilver’s Camilletti project north of Milner was sent to Quicksilver for signature more than two weeks ago, Phillips said. A company spokesman said at the time of the county’s approval of the permit July 10 that Quicksilver objected to conditions requiring a groundwater quality monitoring well. In a recent email to planning staff, Quicksilver’s Steve Lindsey wrote, “Given the attached condition, our company is valuating its options. At this point, we won’t be taking any action on the permit.”
Continental Oil has a drilling permit in the county process for the Peltier Well that has been deemed complete, Phillips said, but the company has asked the county to table it for the time being. It has been rescheduled for public hearings before the Routt County Planning Commission on Sept. 20 and the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 23. The well would be drilled in the Bear River Field east of Hayden.
The next oil well permit to come before the county commissioners is Gnat Hill on Aug. 28. The well is 7.8 miles southeast of Hayden and north of Routt County Road 65.
Nine more well permit applications are in the county planning office waiting to be deemed complete, Phillips said, including two more Quicksilver wells.
Planning staff has done diligence on almost all of those permit applications toward deeming them complete and ready for public hearings, according to a written report provided to the county commissioners. Phillips said that in cases where they are waiting for hearings, it’s because the applicants have been asked to provide necessary information to make the applications complete.
“Are we holding them up? No we are not,” Phillips said.
In some cases, applications are incomplete because they required more traffic analysis.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com