Giant oil company could drill five new wells even as it prepares to leave Northwest Colorado

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— Shell Oil officials announced in August 2013 their company’s intention to gradually withdraw from exploratory drilling operations in Northwest Colorado, then confirmed in September they would continue to be active for a time as they lived up to lease agreements in place that included drilling deadlines.

Now, evidence that Shell will carry through on that intent can be found in tentative new drilling permit applications that have been filed with the Routt County Planning Department. Shell has recently shown interest in drilling as many as five new wells in the vicinity of the town of Hayden in West Routt. Word of the new drilling permit applications comes after two months of inactivity in terms of new permit applications.

“There was not a lot of new information in December and early January, but things are changing,” Brookshire wrote last week in an e-mailed oil and gas update.

Shell Oil informed officials in Routt and Moffat counties late last summer it wants to sell off the leases it holds in the Niobrara Shale formation here to focus on more productive operations.

But now, Shell has re-applied for the Williams well, which has been public for more than a year, and also applied for a well at Dill Gulch southwest of Hayden and another about 5 miles north of town.

In addition, traffic studies are being done for two more tentative Shell oil wells, 20-Mile Sheep 1-29 and 1-36.

Quicksilver Resources also has entered the county planning process to drill Pirtlaw Partners well 34-11 on Wolf Mountain where it has drilled several previous wells. Records on file at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission show that Quicksilver sold 4,272 barrels of oil in 2013 from a nearby well on Wolf Mountain, Pirtlaw 24-33.

Shell’s new Dill Gulch well would be located due south of Hayden, but the route for truck traffic tentatively is planned to follow U.S. Highway 40 4.7 miles east of town to Routt County Road 27 then south on Routt County Road 27 and then west on Routt County Road 53.

The Williams well 1-30 would be located 2.4 miles south on County Road 27, then 1.7 miles west on Routt Country Road 51C to the site owned by Michael and Amy Williams. The well pad is proposed to be located on the northern end of the property within 621 feet of the county road.

The Shell oil well known as Hayden North 1-26 is proposed to be drilled on land controlled by the State Land Board about 5 miles north of Hayden on Routt County Road 80, which leads to Crane Park. The proposed well pad site is southwest of Hooker Mountain and west of Morgan Creek and the Bruchez Ranch.

Records reflecting Shell’s applications for state permits for the 20-mile sheep company wells are on file at the COGCC. Routt County has referred traffic studies to a consultant.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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