Genesis preps for test wells on Grand Mesa
A drilling program long in the planning is getting close to the point of driving bits into the north side of Grand Mesa and the Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on the project.
Genesis Gas & Oil LLC is planning to drill five exploratory wells near Mesa to determine the amount of natural gas on the 27,000 acres it has leased in the area.
The leased land includes watersheds for Palisade and Grand Junction, but the exploratory wells are to be drilled east of the watersheds, BLM spokesman Christopher Joyner said.
Genesis is proposing to build four new well pads and reuse an abandoned pad. Three proposed well pads are southeast of Mesa and east of Colorado Highway 65. The others are southwest of Mesa and west of the highway. The company also is planning to build 3.5 miles of roads for drill rigs.
The plan to drill well away from the watershed is in response to plans drawn up by the company and government agencies, including Grand Junction and Palisade, when Genesis first raised the issue of drilling in 2006.
“I think we’re feeling pretty good,” Palisade Town Administrator Richard Sales said Wednesday. “Genesis is serious about making sure that water quality is not affected and the board (of trustees) understands that the technology is out there” to drill with minimal environmental consequences.
Genesis also participated in the preparation of a baseline hydrology study for the watershed, Sales said.
Genesis officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
The company “has been deliberate, thoughtful and pragmatic in how it has planned for and approached the project,” said David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association. “It’s really pioneering what the future of the industry is going to be.”
Genesis hosted a meeting of residents in Mesa on Nov. 12 to provide additional information, Ludlam said, noting that the meeting wasn’t required as a condition of the approval of its drilling plan.
When Genesis first proposed drilling on the mesa in 2006, alarmed municipal officials put together the drill plan aimed at protecting the watersheds for Palisade and Grand Junction.
No action to drill on the company’s lease, however, has taken place until now.
The BLM is preparing an environmental assessment of the proposal, and is seeking comment on any specific issues, concerns or comments from the public.
Comments should be submitted by Dec. 22.