Fram proposal: 108 new oil wells south of Palisade
The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released for public comment an analysis of a plan by Fram Operating LLC to drill for oil south of Palisade.
The agency says a four-year exploratory project would involve up to 108 wells drilled from 12 new well pads. Eventually, it says, 8.7 million barrels of oil could be produced over an estimated 20-year development project life. Fram is producing oil from two wells it already has drilled in the area.
The new drilling would occur about 15 miles east and southeast of Grand Junction. It would be east of U.S. Highway 50 and north of Kannah Creek.
Natural gas also probably would be co-produced, but probably not in marketable quantities. Fram says most of the gas would be used to run equipment at well pads, with the excess combusted and no flaring occurring. “Eventually, excess natural gas could be re-injected into the formation to increase pressure,” the environmental assessment says.
Fram originally had proposed a much larger project including lands in both Delta and Mesa counties. Its current project area is about 26,000 acres of public and private lands, including some private lands with federally owned minerals. Eleven pads would be on federal lands, and one on private land.
The BLM received 191 comment letters or e-mails during an initial scoping period. Some expressed support for the project’s economic and energy benefits. Many covered concerns about possible water, air quality, wildlife, recreation and other impacts. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is recommending development of a plan to minimize wildlife impacts.
Water concerns expressed include possible impacts to the Kannah and Whitewater creek watersheds and water used by Grand Junction and Whitewater residents, and possible impacts from hydraulic fracturing on groundwater.
The city of Grand Junction has suggested numerous mitigations and requirements.
A Grand Junction watershed protection ordinance covers part of the proposed drilling area. “All well pads would be constructed outside of and/or down-gradient from the City of Grand Junction municipal watershed and would not impact the watershed,” the environmental assessment says.
Fram plans to buy water from Grand Junction for drilling, but use a foam made of 85 percent carbon dioxide and 15 percent methanol for fracking.
The company is proposing, and the BLM is evaluating, that it use a secondary access route, County C Road, in winter months to reduce big-game impacts. The BLM also is evaluating a proposal limiting access to the Kannah Creek and Land’s End roads.
The EA is available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html.
For more information, call BLM natural resource specialist Julia Christiansen at 244-3093.