Sharon Dunn – The Greeley Tribune – January 13, 2017
Bobbie Burke looked out her front window in west Greeley on Wednesday morning and saw an almost unbelievable sight.
A drilling rig — in her neighborhood. Upon closer inspection, the rig towered 60 to 70 feet in the air in a resident’s front yard in the Highland Park West subdivision near 54th Avenue and 26th Street.
“It’s a little strange looking at this out your front window,” said Burke, who lives on 56th Avenue.
Aren’t there supposed to be rules against drilling in a neighborhood, she wondered? And in someone’s front yard?
She and others quickly grew angry.
But this rig is doing anything but drilling for oil. It’s there for one of the most unique circumstances oilman Craig Rasmuson has ever encountered.
Rasmuson, executive vice president of business development at Synergy Resources, is leading his crews to cap a well drilled in 1963 that never produced.
“This is an extremely unique situation to find a well that, lo and behold, was built over,” Rasmuson said. “It was just an open field back in 1963, and it had a house built on it in 1988, and it has had numerous owners. There’s no record of it in the title. I don’t know how that was missed.”
Synergy has plans to drill 20 wells in this area in the next year, a good $100 million investment. Its plans are to drill the wells as what the industry calls “long laterals,” meaning the company will stage drilling equipment up to 2.5 miles away from the site to meet required setbacks of at least 500 feet in a residential neighborhood.
This abandoned well would put a wrinkle in that plan if they didn’t do something.
“There is no risk to it sitting there as it was,” Rasmuson explained. “The concern is when we do future development in proximity of that old well, that could compromise it.”