Schlumberger still plans to build energy facility in De Beque

DE BEQUE — National economic problems and fuel price declines won’t have any effect on Schlumberger’s plans to build an energy services facility in De Beque, a company official says.

“The De Beque project is definitely going forward,” said Bill Thomas, the project’s manager for the company.

Depressed by falling oil prices that could slow the pace of drilling, Schlumberger’s stock is trading at about half of what it was July 1. The company also said in a recent news release that it will be affected by a rapid deterioration in credit markets.

Thomas said he’s sure Schlumberger will be evaluating and prioritizing capital projects in other parts of the country, but that won’t be the case in De Beque. He said if energy prices continue to drop and impact the level of local natural gas development, that shouldn’t affect the project.

The reason is Schlumberger will provide services not just for drilling, but for existing wells, of which there already are many in the region.

Thomas said such operations aren’t subject to the whims of short-term, energy-price fluctuations. Schlumberger has facilities that have served energy fields in places such as Alaska and Utah for 35 years, he said.

“Once we establish a facility like this, it’s there for years and years,” Thomas said.

Mesa County wants De Beque to reconsider its recent annexation of the 300-plus-acre Schlumberger property, south of town on 45 1/2 Road. The town’s mayor, Dale Rickstrew, said it’s too late for that.

He recently visited the site, where earth-moving work has begun, and is confident Schlumberger is going forward with its project.

“I don’t think at this point in time the economy or what Mesa County’s doing worries them a bit. They’re full-steam ahead as far as I know,” Rickstrew said.

Ava St. Pierre-Cogburn, who with her husband is building a home next to the project, said she hadn’t counted on recent economic conditions killing it. But she had hoped it would be stopped at a planning-review level.

St. Pierre-Cogburn said she supports the energy industry, but the project is inappropriately located in an agricultural area.

She said she has raised concerns over matters including noise, dust, hazardous materials storage and wildlife disruption.


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