The requested resource (/media/ksut/header/pb/header.html) is not available
Last updated 5:07AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
BP Drilling Plan Pluses and Minuses
(2007-02-02)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Cautious optimism is being expressed about BP's announcement earlier this week, of an aggressive 13 year schedule to drill hundreds of new gas wells in La Plata County.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: The importance of the natural gas industry on the La Plata County economy has been well documented.
Economists at Fort Lewis College, released a study in 2004.
Among it's findings: The gas industry accounts for about 4-percent of all jobs in the county.
The industry's wages average about three times higher than other jobs and accounts for 22 percent of all personal income.
And BP is responsible for three out of every four gas wells operating here.
But not everyone is ready to jump for joy at the news earlier this week that BP plans to spend 2.4-billion dollars over the next 13 years to drill 700 new infill wells, most at 80 acre spacing.
JOSWICK: THIS JUST RAISES A LOT OF QUESTIONS.
Josh Joswick monitors oil and gas issues for the San Juan Citizen's Alliance.
He says BP's news reflects a drilling schedule more aggressive than the had company indicated while it was seeking approval for the infill wells over the past two years.
JOSWICK: THEY SAID THAT THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE A MEASURED PACE OF PRODUCTION SO IT WOULD NOT BE A BOOM OR BUST. NOW THEY'RE ACCELERATING THAT RATE OF PRODUCTION SO I GUESS THE QUESTION COMES UP, IS THAT GOING TO ACCELLERATE A BOOM AND BUST CYCLE.
Joswick's not alone in voicing concern about a bust that could come once the gas in the San Juan basin is tapped.
It's estimated the gas industry pays 60-percent of all property taxes collected in La Plata County.
In their study, Fort Lewis College Economists estimated without those revenues, property taxes for residents and business would rise 300 to 800 percent.
Michael Scannell, LaPlata County Manager, says he too is concerned about the gas industry's economic role and more.
SCANNELL: I APPRECIATE THE ROLE THEY PLACE IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY, AT THE SAME TIME I TH INK WE HAVE TO BE VIGILANT AND PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE COMMUNITY AS IT RELATES TO SURFACE DISTURBANCES, ETCETRA, AND FORGE AN EFFECTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BP AND THE COMMUNITY AS WE GO FORWARD ON A FAIRLY AGGRESSIVE DRILLING PROGRAM.
Joswick also worries, absent a new state law protecting the rights of surface owners, BP's aggressive plans could harm some property owners.
JOSWICK: WILL BP BE GOING OUT THERE AND HAMMERING ON SURFACE OWNERS EVEN HARDER?
Joswick says another big question the San Juan Citizens Alliance has is how quickly will the aggressive drilling plan push BP to seek further down spacing, to 40-acres.
JOSWICK: I DON'T SEE WHY THERE'S ANY DOUBT IN ANYBODY'S MIND THAT THEY ARE GOING TO GO TO 40'S BECAUSE THEY'VE ALWAYS INFILLED DOWN. HOW THIS IS GOING TO ACCELLERATE THAT IS SOMETHING I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE EXPLAINED TO US.
Joswick does praise BP for its plans to use directional and horizontal drilling from existing well pads which will should reduce environmental impacts from the drilling.
Scannell says the county will watch to insure BP deals fairly with property owners and others.
SCANNELL: THEY'VE BEEN A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH AND THEY'VE BEEN A REAL STANDUP ORGANIZATION AND I WOULD FULLY EXPECT THEM TO CONTINUE TO HONOR THAT PHILOSOPHY.
But Scannell thinks overall, BP's plans will be good for LaPlata County.
SCANNELL: IF BP ELECTED NOT TO DO THE INFILL APPLICATION AND ELECTED NOT TO PURSUE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE 700 WELLS I SUSPECT THAT THEIR PRODUCTION WOULD HAVE BEEN IN A DECLINING MODE, WHICH WOULD HAVE HAD POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT REPURCUSSIONS FOR THE COUNTY'S FISCAL BASE.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
© Copyright 2017, ksut