Soon, the city of Broomfield’s landscape could substantially change. Once an oil field, now filled with residential development, the area is dotted with storage tanks and well sites.
If a plan by Extraction Oil and Gas comes to fruition, 41 unsightly wells that dot residential neighborhoods could disappear.
In fact, communities all over northern Colorado already are seeing fewer storage tanks and well sites — even while companies are drilling more wells.
That’s because of a relatively recent state oil and gas policy that is making a rather hefty impact in the Colorado oil scene. The rule is responsible for hundreds of old vertical wells being plugged and abandoned as companies seek to drill horizontal wells instead. The result is a cleaner landscape and a return of land back to surface owners.
The horizontal well offset policy has been responsible for hundreds of pluggings in the past two years. In 2016, companies drilling in Weld County plugged 801 wells, up 17.4 percent from the previous year, and up more than double the number of wells plugged of 2013, before the rule was implemented by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
The commission in 2014 created the horizontal well offset policy, which requires operators planning to drill horizontal wells within 1,500 feet of an old vertical well to examine the vertical well’s integrity. The fear, said Matt Lepore, executive director of the COGCC, was that there would be some communication between the new and old wells that would negatively affect pressure or the integrity of the older well. Continue reading “Energy Pipeline: Plugging old vertical wells could soon change Colorado’s landscapes” »