Antero puts off plan to increase gas-well densities

Firm agrees to delay amid talks with affected parties in Silt area

Garfield County commissioners’ pleas to an energy company and residents to talk through conflicts regarding drilling near Silt appear to be bearing fruit.

Antero Resources this week agreed to postpone requests for increased natural-gas-well densities for two, square-mile sections in the Silt Mesa and Peach Valley areas to allow for continued discussions with residents, mineral owners and the county.

Some of those discussions occurred Thursday. Leslie Robinson of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance called them “constructive” and said Antero appears ready to mitigate the dispute with the group about the company’s proposal for drilling densities of one well every 10 acres.

“All I can say is we discovered some common ground with Antero. Our concerns about the 10-acre spacing are being addressed,” Robinson said.

She said the progress is being made despite the group not wavering from its opposition to 10-acre densities, a position it reiterated this week.

“While we appreciate the opportunity to sit down with Antero to discuss the subject, the evidence against increasing well density is too great to overcome,” the group said.

Kevin Kilstrom, an Antero vice president, said in a letter to county commissioners Wednesday the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will consider the company’s spacing requests Feb. 22. It previously had been scheduled to consider them next week.

“Following a discussion of these applications and after hearing the concerns of both the Commissioners and the citizens, we concluded that additional dialogue regarding our plan is necessary,” Kilstrom wrote.

In an update to commissioners Thursday, he said the discussion involved a plan that would meet the company’s immediate business needs, foster continued dialogue and enable the county to withdraw its intervention in the spacing applications. He said Antero hoped to soon be able to present an agreement between parties to commissioners.

Commissioners intervened to raise concerns about the cumulative impacts of that many wells on area residents. On Monday, they rejected a settlement offer by Antero. But commissioners, especially Commissioner Mike Samson, urged Antero to hold further discussions with county legal staff and to meet with other interested parties.

Samson said Thursday he is pleased to hear the parties are trying to work things out.

“I’m really happy that that’s happening, and I hope and pray that it’s successful,” he said.


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