Oil & gas issues in Routt County
Craig While energy operators were busy Wednesday finalizing this year’s drilling plans, representatives from Quicksilver Resources were closing a deal for a new office building in Craig.
Quicksilver, a Texas-based oil and gas production company, has had a presence in the Yampa Valley since early 2011 when it purchased an office in Steamboat Springs to serve as a base of operations for the company’s play for Niobrara Shale oil.
Steve Lindsey, Quicksilver’s senior director of government and community affairs, said Friday that his company would keep its Steamboat office despite having no plans to drill additional wells in Routt County this year while it instead ramps up its efforts in Moffat County.
“It’s just an expansion of our operations in the area, and it gives us the flexibility to operate out of” Craig and Steamboat Springs, Lindsey said about the new Craig office. “I could see both offices being utilized as the workload dictates, but for the foreseeable future, the bulk of the work will be conducted out of the Craig office.”
The building Quicksilver purchased is known as the “Old Greeley Gas Building” at 390 Yampa Ave. in Craig. The building was constructed in 1960 as the main office for Greeley Gas.
Scott Hayden, of Denver-based Cherry Creek Properties, brokered the $330,000 deal.
Danny Mondragon, project manager for Quicksilver’s Colorado operations, said the company already has drilled 10 exploratory wells in the Niobrara Shale formation that runs deep below the surface in Northwest Colorado. Nine wells are located in Moffat County, and one is in Routt County.
Citing difficulties in acquiring permits in Routt County, Mondragon said Quicksilver plans to drill between eight and 15 more wells this year, all of which will be in Moffat County.
Those plans prompted the decision to open a Moffat office.
“That really drives the choice of the location,” Lindsey said. “Having the opportunity to open an office closer to our area of operation is consistent with how we operate in other areas.”
Quicksilver has had a tougher go in Routt County, where the Board of Commissioners has taken a cautious approach to approving oil well permits. The commissioners recently tabled action on Quicksilver’s application for a permit to drill a second well on the Camilletti property north of Milner. The county is forming two task forces to examine air and water quality measures before the application is taken up again at the end of June.
Quicksilver currently employs between seven and 10 full-time employees in the Yampa Valley, plus an additional 10 who travel to the area on a regular basis, Lindsey said.
Craig residents can expect to see Quicksilver employees occupying the local building “sometime by the end of the month,” Lindsey said.