Williams plans to add another rig in basin

The biggest player in the Piceance Basin is about to add another rig to its fleet.

Williams, which now is running a dozen rigs in the northwest Colorado gas play, plans to add at least one rig before the end of the year, “and it might be sooner,” Williams spokesman Jeff Pounds said Friday.

The additional rig is part of Williams’ companywide effort to increase production in the next two years, Pounds said.

Overall, the company is looking for production to remain flat compared to 2009, but to increase by 12 percent in 2011 and 16 percent in 2012, Pounds said.

Williams’ dozen rigs account for more than one-third of the drilling in the Piceance Basin, where 34 rigs now are working.

The Piceance rigs amount to a little more than half of the 66 rigs now operating in Colorado, which is just behind New Mexico in the number of operating rigs.

The natural gas industry appears to be moving toward a period of slow but stable production, said David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

“Using the 2008 zenith in drilling activity to assess the health of western Colorado’s natural gas business today may no longer be the best thermometer,” Ludlam said in a statement Friday.

Rig counts that are gradually increasing, consistent midstream investments and improving permitting activities suggest the natural gas sector on the Western Slope is stabilizing and “will contribute clean fuel to the nation and jobs to western Colorado for a very long time,” Ludlam said.


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