Encana search for office site hints at Piceance commitment

Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. is looking for a new office location in the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area, partly to address a shortage of space for workers and contractors.

Encana’s plans further underscore what the company has said is its long-term commitment to oil and gas development in the Piceance Basin.

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said it’s his understanding that Encana is looking at property in Parachute or Battlement Mesa because some people lack offices or are working out of trailers.

“I’m just happy to have some new construction going on in Garfield County,” Jankovsky said.

Encana spokesman Doug Hock said Jankovsky’s information is “basically correct,” but no final decisions have been made. He said the company should be making an announcement in the next few weeks.

Encana works out of an office on County Road 215 northwest of Parachute. Hock said it’s too early to talk about future growth plans, but as of April 30 the company had 205 employees and contractors working out of its Parachute office. That compares with 168 in April 2007.

That means its office staffing is even higher than during the height of the region’s drilling boom. After the drilling slowdown that started in late 2008, Encana has been gradually escalating its local drilling rig levels and was up to about 10 by early this year.

It also has struck a deal with Houston-based Bayou Well Services to work on its wells for the next five years. That prompted Bayou to open a location east of Rifle this year. Bayou expects to employ about 200 people locally by sometime next year.

Encana has reported promising early results from drilling exploratory wells into deeper formations than the Mesaverde/Williams Fork sandstone from which most Piceance Basin gas has been produced. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved large federal lease units of tens of thousands of acres in the Collbran area where Encana can focus on exploring these deep formations.

Hock has said Encana sees the deeper-formation drilling as “the next evolution in our operations and production in the Piceance Basin.”


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