A private road leads to the area where Quicksilver Resources previously planned to build and operate an oil well on property owned by longtime Routt County resident Frank Camilletti and his family. The permit was approved July 10 by the Routt County Board of Commissioners. Quicksilver did not support the conditions on the permit and an official emailed Routt County Planning Department staff that the company is "valuating its options."

Photo by John F. Russell

A private road leads to the area where Quicksilver Resources previously planned to build and operate an oil well on property owned by longtime Routt County resident Frank Camilletti and his family. The permit was approved July 10 by the Routt County Board of Commissioners. Quicksilver did not support the conditions on the permit and an official emailed Routt County Planning Department staff that the company is "valuating its options."

4 new energy companies seek drilling permits in Routt County

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Oil & gas issues in Routt County

Reader poll

Do you support oil and gas exploration in Routt County?

  • Yes, it's good for the economy. 58%
  • No, it's bad for the environment. 33%
  • I haven't made up my mind. 7%
  • I don't care. 2%

272 total votes.

— 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

Comments

Michelle Hale 2 years, 4 months ago

My view is this. You don't like oil, don't use shampoo, softeners for your clothes, laundry detergent, plastic, or have a need for medical supplies, toys, and the list grows. Oh, and don't bitch about high gas, and oil prices, or heating cost because it all comes from OIL. Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blancos tax base has ALWAYS been ENERGY. Not ranching, not farming OIL, COAL, GAS AND MINING of other precious minerials. As a good Democrat I am sick to death of the anti-energy. There is little to no lodgic in that mind set.

I also think that those who are elected by the public, and standing in the way of JOBS, for locals, as well as meeting the need for our nation should get a new job. Its long over due to take care of us at home. End our overseas dependency on energy, use what we have here. Grow the economny, and in the mean time make what we use better, and look into the green energy. As my Dad would have said S*** or get off the pot!

Michelle

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 4 months ago

Michelle, In the County O&G meetings I have attended, there have been sparse comments completely against Oil, Coal or Gas. There has however, consistently been a large number of comments seeking protection against the possible hazards that accompany these industries.

Fair enough?

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kathy foos 2 years, 4 months ago

Peak oil is over.....sorry but your oil based shampoo is running out!it is water and air polluting hydro gas fracturing that is totally offensive to the public and planet..Do you live under a rock?Do you care about Routt County at all?Fracking is not safe and we don't have to just take it, so you won't run out of hair care product's.

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John St Pierre 2 years, 4 months ago

Local jobs??? Not in the oil biz... its all out of towners except for a few engineers who were moved here....Not against it but I do want my watershed protected...

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

Michelle, As your dad noted, you use a toilet and that is because no one wants to live among s. You don't s around the house just because that might be easier than going to the bathroom.

Same thing for oil and gas, no problems with them doing their stuff. They just need to do it the right way so that there isn't s*** everywhere when they are done.

Routt County O&G regulations appear to be close to what a natural gas trade group says how the industry conducts business and the number of requested permits suggests that drillers see Routt County as open for business. Note that eastern, southern and northern Routt County generally do not have the geology that interests drillers so we won't have the drilling activity of Moffat County simply because of geology.

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mark hartless 2 years, 4 months ago

What kind of contaminates find their way into the ground-water from the Milner landfill? Are there test wells or other measures in place to monitor that contingency? After all, who really knows what finds its way into that landfill? Might be stuff every bit as toxic as fracking fluid. Might be leftovers from meth labs or who knows what. Don't hear the same concerns voiced about that though... I wonder why?

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Michelle Hale 2 years, 4 months ago

Clear back to the 1890s the first well drilled here was on the Carpenter Ranch. Back when there was allot less concerns to water, and air. This was a time when rigs were made of wood and men made of iron. Drilling has always been in Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco. I know for a fact for the holes drilled in the 80s. My husband a many "locals" worked those rigs. They hit oil on ever hole. It was also one of the first directional drilling rigs ever use. Every one of those holes were capped, and not produced because the oil price fell, the focus at that time was overseas. Fracking has been going on all that time, so why is it an issue now? Greed, incorrect information, closed minds and lack of knowledge? My Grandfather worked rigs here after WWI. My father was a Coal Miner, but worked rigs in the summers, as well as when he came home from Korea. Fracking!! So did it effect wells then? No!

The few real ranchers that there are in the area got hit hard this year. Little to no hay, having to sell off everything to pay bills, and hope for a better year next year, and that they can hang on. Getting paid for surface disturbance, improvements on the ranch roads, culverts, new fence, and a little bit of royalty could keep the wolf away from the door and allow them to keep ranching.

Our tax base is and always has been E N E R G Y. The point about the land fill was dead on. How about the mag-chloride that is put on the road that end up in the water, and kills all the vegetation? What about burning of wood and what it does the the air in the winter? Enough regulations are in place already.

The average income of those in the Oil Field start at about 60,000.00 to 80,000.00 and goes up from there. One rig takes about 100 people to keep it working and going with all of its needs. For every one of those 100 people they effect 10 other businesses. You do the math. Skiing and catering to the Rich and Removed doesn't help the tax base, or create high paying jobs. As far as the comment above that oil and gas are out. Not true. There is enough energy on the Roan Mesa that it will serve all of the USA needs for a 100 years. This was noted in a USGS report in 2006. Natural gas is also embraced as a GREEN energy. Petroleum is in everything you touch one way or another. It effects every part of your life if you embrace it or not. That is a fact. To say no, is pure cranial rectal inversion.

Michelle

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doug monger 2 years, 4 months ago

Mark, actually the landfill has a total circle field of monitoring wells to monitor the water around the landfill and to gauge the impact on the Yampa. I can't remember the number, but Routt County Environmental Health has the number. I believe it is between four to six. The coal mines also have monitoring wells all around their mine sites, basically a perimeter of monitoring wells. That is not only in Routt, but is in Moffat as well, I believe it is a condition of a Colorado Mining permit. Doug Monger Routt County Commissioner

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

Michelle, Even the oil and gas industry trade group recognizes the potential harm to their industry from serious environmental problems. So they promote that nat gas fracking can be done safely and groundwater is monitored.

This country had a river catch fire and burn because it was so polluted. In 1948, an inversion trapped the air in Donoria Pennsylvania and over several days killed 20 people and 50 more died soon after.

The cost of a water monitoring well is very modest because it is just to the water table, not the 7,000 or so feet of the fracking well.

And as Scott Ford has shown, energy is not the center of our tax base or economy. Sure, it is helpful and good jobs, but it is relatively small amount of the local economy.

Most important, why are you so upset at rules that Shell Oil and apparently all other applicants except Quicksilver have no problems accepting? Shell Oil is hardly some socialist, green party, lefty organization. If Routt County's rules bothered them then they have far more resources available to overturn Routt County's condition than Routt County has to defend their rules.

The only driller with an issue is Quicksilver whom apparently does not agree with their trade group on what are proper drilling practices.

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Bob Smith 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Doug! So many of Mark's comments can be de-bunked with a little research! (B-A-M)

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doug monger 2 years, 3 months ago

Bob, I actually like a lot of Mark's comments, my comment was not to dis on Mark but to make sure people know more facts to base their decision on. Thanks Doug Monger

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Richard Hagins 2 years, 3 months ago

It is time for West Routt to secede or become Far Eastern Moffat County! I'm getting a little tired of some of those how don't live here telling us what to do.

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mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Doug, Thanks for that info. I kind-of thought there would be monitoring there. Good to know. Makes sense.

FYI Bob, I think monitoring wells at mines, landfills and drilling operations are sensible, prudent. Despite being cast as some anti-environmental shill for the drilling companies I have always thought it made sense to monitor ground water where fracking is done. The stakes are too high to screw it up. My point was that many environmentalists accept risk, comtamination, waste, etc from their "darlings" while making a big deal about the same effects from things they oppose... like oil. A classic example is ethanol. It takes more energy to make it than it yields. It's toxic. It uses vast amounts of fresh water. It raises food prices. But environmentalists got that ball rolling and many still refuse to accept this reality.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 3 months ago

Mark, Well, ethanol story includes a lot of environmentalists opposing it for those reasons you gave. The biggest supporters of ethanol was farm industry because it created demand for corn and jobs at the local ethanol plants.

And once ethanol production started and was not as efficient as hoped and included some facilities burning coal as the source of heat for the process then environmentalists support dropped even further. Some liberal dems in Congress did propose changes to make it be green, but were shot down by the farm and now ethanol industry. Farm state Republicans have become the big defenders of ethanol against the criticisms of big city liberal dems.

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mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Scott, You are right that there are plenty of republicans who support farm subsidies; all of which should be stopped. There is plenty of blame to go 'round.

Environmentalists did push ethanol's nose into the tent. The fact that some have since changed their minds is good, but they gave us this debacle and we will never get rid of it.

And yes, republicans are just as bad in many ways. Just a couple months ago one of the heros of the new republican "conservative" movement, Rubio of Florida, voted to extend sugar subsidies. A nation full of obese people with diabetes needs more, cheaper sugar???? At tax-payers' expense???? And we need it bad enough to borrow the monay from China???

That's one reason I'm not a republican.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 3 months ago

"but they gave us this debacle"

Well, they were among those that gave us this debacle. Farmers and so on also wanted it. Not sure why you want to blame the environmentalists over the farmers and ag companies and so on that pushed it hard and worked to prevent requirements that ethanol product be green.

Many environmentalists are certainly culpable for wanting it to be big before it was proven efficient or required to be clean. But there were environmentalists back then that said until we can make corn ethanol nearly as efficiently as sugar ethanol then these ethanol subsidies are not going to help with energy.

These farm state republicans rail against government involvement in business, but then first thing they do is support ethanol subsidies. Ethanol subsidies are an annual 100 Solyndras. If they had 1% of the outrage for money wasted on ethanol as they have for Solyndra then ethanol subsidies would be gone tomorrow.

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mark hartless 2 years, 3 months ago

Like I said... That's one reason I'm not a republican.

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