As part of an ongoing effort to keep the public informed about oil and gas operations, the county’s local government designee, Diana May, held a meeting Aug. 1 that included representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association; Ultra Petroleum; and Banko Petroleum (representing Hilcorp Energy Co.); El Paso County staff members; and interested community members.
May provided information on the status of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the county and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee. The purpose of the IGA is to make the now-voluntary baseline and follow-up groundwater tests a mandatory requirement for drilling permits in the county. Because of a change in leadership at the COGCC, the approval of the IGA has been delayed, May said.
“We’re waiting to get a nod from the COGCC,” May said. “Unfortunately, it’s (the IGA approval) has been delayed much more than anyone could guess.” May said the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners was slated to discuss the IGA during an executive session meeting.
May said the county has issued additional permits to Ultra for three wells: Brutus, Olive Oyl and Ponderosa. Brutus is off Highway 94, east of Ellicott. Olive Oyl is south of Drennan Road near Curtis Road and Ponderosa is south of Highway 94, near Blaney Road. The permits allow for one additional horizontal well to be drilled at each site, May said.
The director of the El Paso County Development Services Department, Craig Dossey, said that Hilcorp has contracted with Geophysical Explorer Ltd. to perform seismic testing, which will be done around Hilcorp’s two well sites: State and Myers. The State well site is off Peyton Highway, south of Highway 94. The Myers well site is off Peyton Highway, north of Highway 94.
The seismic testing will take place prior to Hilcorp drilling on either site, said Chris McRickard, project coordinator for Banko. “The area being surveyed is about 50 square miles,” he said. The estimated start date for the testing will be in late August; testing could take between three and four weeks to complete, he said.
“The estimated drill time for the well at the Myers site is mid-November, and the drill time for State is mid-December,” McRickard said.
Mary Sharon Balakas, Ultra’s director of land, said, “We have had no activity on our three vertical well locations because we’re waiting for core sample results on the Ponderosa site.”
Balakas said Ultra is waiting on the city of Colorado Springs to finalize its oil and gas regulations before they proceed with the two approved sites inside the city limits. The sites are Ranch North, a 7-acre plot east of Marksheffel Road between Barnes Road and North Carefree Circle in Banning Lewis Ranch; and Ranch Central, an 8-acre plot south of Highway 94 in Banning Lewis Ranch.
The next LGD meeting is Oct. 3, from 2 to 3 p.m., in the Pikes Peak meeting room at Centennial Hall in Colorado Springs.