Board considering further delays over Antero well spacing

A further delay is in the works over Antero Resources’ proposals for increased natural-gas-well densities near Silt.

The Garfield County Commission scheduled a special meeting Monday to decide whether it approves of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission postponing consideration of Antero’s requests until April 4.

The postponement would provide more time for Antero and other parties, including residents of Silt Mesa and Peach Valley, to try to reach an agreement that would let the county drop its opposition to the proposals. That would head off what is expected to be a long and contentious state hearing on requests by Antero to be allowed to pursue 10-acre, underground-well development on two, square-mile sections of land.

The county has intervened in the applications, saying the state’s oil and gas rules fail to adequately address the cumulative impacts of that much gas development on nearby residents.

Antero already had postponed its applications from this month to Feb. 22 to allow for continued discussions with residents, mineral owners and others.

Assistant Garfield County attorney Cassie Coleman said Antero sent the county a settlement offer Friday and indicated its interest in another extension.

Jon Black, local operations manager for Antero, said the company is amenable to a further delay to try to reach an agreement with other parties. He said Antero is offering to withdraw the 10-acre requests for now and continue exploratory drilling in the area based on currently allowed 40-acre densities.

“However, following the test results we may in the future also apply for a 10-acre density,” he said.

Leslie Robinson of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance said more negotiations are possible, but talks are at an impasse because area residents aren’t backing down in their opposition to 10-acre density. She thinks Antero’s latest delay in its request is a result of a strong case being made by the county regarding concerns over cumulative impacts.

“So, I’m sure Antero is just kind of going back to the drawing board to address those concerns, if they really can address them, to satisfy the COGCC,” she said.

Meanwhile, the county indicated it plans to call former Garfield Commissioner Tresi Houpt as a witness at the state hearing. Houpt, a Democrat, sat on the oil and gas commission when it rewrote its rules, but she lost that position when she was defeated in November’s county commissioner election by Republican challenger Tom Jankovsky.


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