Garfield to consider Antero deal on Silt Mesa gas development

A settlement Antero Resources is offering to Garfield County on proposed Silt-area drilling is intended to enable the parties to “work together toward a practical solution” rather than being dictated to by the state, company official Kevin Kilstrom says.

However, Silt Mesa couple Fiona Lloyd and Dave Pegg say the company’s proposal is laughable and not much of an offer at all.

“It’s not worth the paper it’s written on,” Lloyd said.

Garfield commissioners are scheduled to consider Antero’s offer Monday.

Antero has applied for 10-acre underground well spacing for two square-mile sections in the Silt Mesa/Peach Valley area.

The county has filed to intervene in both applications with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. County officials and some local residents are worried about the air, water and other impacts of that much gas development in a more-populated area.

Dave Neslin, director of the state commission, said consideration of just one of the interventions by the commission Jan. 13 could take four to five hours.

Kilstrom, Antero’s vice president of production, said he hopes the company and county can agree to a better solution than a state-imposed one.

Among Antero’s proposals are limiting drilling pads to four per square mile and locating them at least 500 feet from homes.

Kilstrom said the company’s position continues to be that the 10-acre well spacing applications involve simply enabling Antero to fully develop the gas resource underground at the same spacing common elsewhere in the Piceance Basin.

The place for dealing with above-ground impacts is when the state considers surface facility applications such as pads, he said.

However, county officials say that process doesn’t provide for considering cumulative impacts of that many wells.

Lloyd said the proposed 500-foot-minimum drilling rig setback isn’t really a concession because Antero already committed to that years ago in a community development plan negotiated for the Rifle-Silt-New Castle area.

Pegg and Lloyd also are concerned because Antero’s commitment to four pads per section provides for exceptions if the state and county agree to allow more.

The state would allow four times as many pads under Antero’s 10-acre well spacing applications, “so that offer is nothing,” Pegg said.

Kilstrom said that since drilling its first well locally in 2005, Antero has gone well beyond state requirements for the sake of the county and local residents, including by agreeing to the community plan, using pitless drilling, testing water wells, and installing production-water pipelines to reduce truck traffic.


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