Quicksilver pursues 2nd well at Wolf Mountain near Hayden


Past Event

Routt County Planning Commission meeting

  • Thursday, March 1, 2012, 6 p.m.
  • Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available


— Quicksilver Resources officials hope to take a two-phase approach to drilling their second well beginning late this month on Wolf Mountain about six miles northeast of Hayden.

Quicksilver already drilled one well on Wolf Mountain Ranch in 2011. The first well has yet to go into full production.

The second well would be drilled within a mile of the first. The new well ultimately could be drilled to a depth of 7,800 feet in the Niobrara Shale formation.

However, a first phase would be drilled to a depth of 1,200 feet using a 60-foot surface rig. Quicksilver expects that phase to begin by March 22, pending issuance of permits. The company plans to complete the first phase by March 31 but no later than April 4. After that date, the operation would shut down for the balance of the grouse mating and chick-rearing season.

That first phase of drilling is dependent on a one-time variance to grouse restrictions, which typically are observed beginning March 15 through July 30, according to a report by county staff planner Chris Brookshire.

Area Wildlife Officer Jim Haskins, of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, confirmed Wednesday that his office had approved of the variance and the two-phased drilling plan.

“We call it a one-time variance because we don’t want them to get the impression we will grant it every time they ask,” Haskins said. “But the first reason we approved it is that the area (of the well pad) really isn’t in critical grouse habitat. Quicksilver has been willing to live by the restrictions” even when that is the case.

Second, he said, Quicksilver has proven to be a willing partner on wildlife issues, and his agency is aware that Quicksilver needs to begin a second well on Wolf Mountain to meet the terms of its contract there.

Quicksilver acknowledged in its project description for the new well that the proposed pad site and access road are located within a conservation easement on Wolf Mountain Ranch that is held by The Nature Conservancy. The report goes on to acknowledge that Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Routt County Purchase of Development Rights fund contributed to funding for the easement.

“In recognizing the elevated level of public interest in this property, Quicksilver has undertaken numerous planning and mitigation measures in order to ensure that the conservation values of Wolf Mountain Ranch are not significantly impacted,” the project description reads.

The first phase of the new well would use water-based fluids, and no fracking is involved, according to Brookshire’s report. Surface casing also would be set and cemented in the first phase, Brookshire wrote. After the initial drilling, the rig would be removed from the site.

The final drilling operations are proposed to begin in August. A conventional rotary drill about 165 feet tall would complete the drilling process using oil-based fluids.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would be used during the well’s second phase. Quicksilver indicates it could use different types of well-stimulation methods to realize the best result at the well. With that in mind, the company included in its report a blanket description of the various base fluids it eventually might end up using at the well, including a water-based fracture, gelled butane or propane, native oil, nitrogen/CO2 (potentially used with water or oil) and other yet-to-be-identified fracking technology methods.

Quicksilver proposes to use a closed loop drilling system to avoid the need for fluid waste pits at the new well pad.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com


kathy foos 4 years, 12 months ago

Quicksilver also want's to take 500 barrels of water from the Yampa at an unknown location by an unknown operator ,what is the impact of that?.They are asking to bypass the water well test samples and adjacent property well samples and comment period. There are no air monitoring stations proposed.The 1,000,000 insurance is not enough for problems that might arise.and people should not have to trust the oil company to take sample's and test's.There should be an independent agency to do that and for the public to make complaint's to ,Routt County residents should not have to go to the oil company individually to deal with the problems.This is a quick , half prepared permit that does not allow for proper public input, as it was recently changed without notice from the Camiletti Ranch permit.When people build in Routt County they must meet planning and building requirements exactly to be in operation,the oil and gas must also conform exactly, no EXCEPTIONS for them! Ban this permit please,there is more information on fracking to come out later this year.Please don't issue any new permits until the report is out.If you do issue any permit, it should conform to the rules(especially on conserved lands!) or you will loose any trust that the people of Routt County are trying to give the system regulating the oil industry here in Routt County.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 12 months ago

After flushing billions down solar-energy snowjobs, smothering offshore exploration, preaching the purchase of electric clown cars that nobody wants, 86ing the Keystone pipeline, and reducing oil lease approval to a snail's pace, the Dept of Energy is relentlessly moving closer toward a goal set by the administration at its inception: In 2008, Energy-Secretary-in-waiting Steven Chu said that what Americans pay for gasoline should be inflated "to the levels in Europe.”

France: $5.54. Germany: $5.57. UK: $5.79. Sweden: $5.80. Belgium: $5.91. Italy: $5.96. Netherlands: $6.48.

Way to go, Mr. Secretary. With just a little more effort, you and your boss's vision may soon be realized for all of us.


Neil O'Keeffe 4 years, 12 months ago

Remember the Romans and "Bread and Circus"? Well the US government has been subsidizing cheap gasoline for year's and this is the bread that keeps the masses compliant. If we were paying what the rest of the world pays for gasoline the auto industry would have had the motivation year's ago to build and market fuel efficient vehicles instead of burying the technology. Why do Americans believe it is their constitutional right to have cheap gasoline, oh yea that same imperialist attitude that leads to Nation Building and generally minding other people's business rather than our own. All in the name of Capitalism. Hale to the Great Plutocracy!


Fred Duckels 4 years, 12 months ago

Thumbs up Brian, our economy will collapse soon under this sabotage. I'm all for ligitimate concerns but they are buried under this morass of insanity. The grouse situation is nothing but added nonsense. One hungry coyote will do many times more harm to the grouse than this well site. How can the participants keep a straight face under this hypocracy? When we eliminate fossils where are we going?


Neil O'Keeffe 4 years, 12 months ago

A cleaner planet, No more Oil subsidies? Imagine that! Love, Life and Liberty?


Neil O'Keeffe 4 years, 12 months ago

I can't help but obsess about Fred's open ended question. If the health of the planet is not important and its not so indirect link to our own health then how about the more direct link of a carbon based economy to our own personal health (your family, my family...)?


I can already anticipate the rebuttal, just remember that "Minds are like parachutes...


Fred Duckels 4 years, 12 months ago

Neil, I could be wrong but judging from your politics I would guess that your security is guaranteed by the government. Our oil prices are what they are, a knee jerk reaction to bring about increases in price will prevent government from honoring it's generous comittment in a matter of years. You will be out on the street rioting over the injustice, i.e.Greece.. Alternatives furnish less than 2% of our fuels and Obama's cronies are coming up with zilch. Our economy is teetering now, trust me, we have no room to wiggle.


maynard short 4 years, 12 months ago

Neil, I understand your concern as to the health of the planet. I do wonder though, why you would subject you and your family to the air of Steamboat Springs. As you know there are at least three very active hydrothemal vents spewing Hydrogen Sulphide into the local atmosphere. You should pack up your family quickly and take them out of harms way.


Neil O'Keeffe 4 years, 12 months ago

Workin on it sheeple! Wrong guess Fred but good try, just a concerned citizen from planet earth.


jerry carlton 4 years, 12 months ago

I am getting pretty old but I remember the gas lines of the 1970's or 1980's ? When was it ? Any now there have been a lot of Republican and Democrat presidents and a whole bunch of fools in the Congress and Senate and none of them have done squat to improve the situation. 90% are on Big Oil's payroll. I worked for Big Oil during my 20's. Best paying job I ever had. Anyone remember who Humble Oil and Refining Company was? They are now Exxon-Mobil.


Jeff_Kibler 4 years, 12 months ago

Jerry, Amoco was gobbled up by British Petroleum. Regarding H2S, Hydrogen Sulphide or Hydrogen Sulfide (I prefer the latter)

The scariest place that I engineered and installed environmental controls was Whitney Canyon, Wyoming. Talk about huge mounds of sulfur! Them sour-gas wells produced major amounts of natural gas.

Here's a bit of history of this plant:



kathy foos 4 years, 11 months ago

Fred and Sep Sittin in a tree F-r-a-c-i-n-g First comes oil Next comes gas Just for safety,I think I'll pass!


Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

Kathy, This conversation is for roughnecks, no poets please.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.