Antero says it has no plans to drill in town of Silt
SILT — Antero Resources officials have sought to dispel speculation by residents that it plans to drill for oil and gas in the town of Silt.
The company’s denial of that rumor hasn’t fully eased the concerns of some residents about the fact that its operations are moving ever closer to the town.
Drilling used to primarily raise concerns about companies disturbing wildlife, Silt resident David Hare said in an interview.
“Now they’re disturbing communities,” he said.
Antero met last week with several dozen residents in Silt. The company holds occasional public meetings to provide updates on its operations between Rifle and New Castle as part of a voluntary development plan it agreed to with communities and residents in the area.
That agreement was considered a landmark one when it was adopted several years ago and figured prominently as state officials developed new oil and gas rules, which include a similar voluntary process for companies to put together comprehensive development plans to address concerns such as impacts to wildlife and public health.
Antero now is creating such a plan under the state rules for the area between Rifle and New Castle and one for the unincorporated community of Battlement Mesa, where it is pursuing a controversial proposal to drill 200 wells.
Rumors of possible drilling in Silt arose after some residents received notices about an Antero well-spacing proposal in the area. Unlike in Battlement Mesa, where Antero is planning well pads within the community, Antero’s vice president of production, Kevin Kilstrom, told Silt residents the company wouldn’t be drilling within the town’s limits.
Eventually, though, it plans to do much more drilling on the north side of the Colorado River, closer to Silt.
Hare worries that incidents such as well-site explosions could endanger residents. Fellow resident Georgann Barclay wasn’t assured by Antero pointing out it planned to drill no closer than 500 feet from homes in Battlement Mesa.
“To have a well 500 feet from my house? I don’t think so,” she said after last week’s meeting.
Others at the meeting praised Antero for its ongoing efforts to meet with residents and to reduce impacts of drilling through means such as installing water pipelines to limit truck traffic, and not using pits.
Kilstrom said it’s to Antero’s benefit to constantly look at ways to minimize impacts and keep neighbors happy.
“We have no incentive not to explore an alternative that’s better,” he said.