Potential injection well worries New Castle

Antero Resources is looking into operating a produced-
water-injection well outside New Castle, prompting concerns among town officials about possible impacts.

Acting at the direction of the Town Council, council member Art Riddile raised the issue with the Denver-based energy company at a recent meeting of the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board.

“Our immediate concerns were the possibility of truck traffic going through our town, plus the possibility of hazardous spills and then watershed issues,” Riddile said.

Kevin Kilstrom, Antero’s vice president of production, said it’s premature to discuss how Antero would address impacts because it hasn’t determined if the well is a good candidate for storing water from development.

If Antero uses the well, however, it might build a pipeline to deliver the water from its gas wells, rather than trucking it.

“We’re completely aware of traffic issues and such,” he said.

The injection-well idea holds the potential of extending western Colorado drilling-related operations to an area where they’re not occurring now. The well would be several miles from New Castle in a valley leading to Harvey Gap Reservoir. The valley is bounded in part by the Grand Hogback geological formation, which also marks the boundary of Piceance Basin drilling operations.

Kilstrom said the plan would be to pump produced water down an old oil and gas well. But first Antero needs to analyze the well.

Under Environmental Protection Agency rules, if it contains fresh, drinkable water, that would rule it out as a place to inject highly salty produced water.

Judy Jordan, Garfield County’s oil and gas liaison, said she heard from one concerned resident. She said the chief consideration surrounding the well probably would be transportation.

Kilstrom said trucking water isn’t cheap. He said a pipeline probably would have to run five or six miles from where Antero eventually intends to be drilling. Its operations generally are between Rifle and Silt. The pipeline would cross the Grand Hogback by Harvey Gap Reservoir.

Kilstrom said Antero is considering the well because of indications that it leads to porous formations that could hold lots of water. The well would require approval by state oil and gas regulators.

Antero also would have to look at watershed issues,  Kilstrom said.


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