Concerns about New Drilling Near Abandoned Wells Still Unresolved in Regulations

Many Anthem Ranch and Wildgrass residents continue to express concerns to the City regarding many abandoned wells in our area, given the fact that new Extraction horizontal drilling from 3000 feet away caused a mud spill from an improperly abandoned well in Berthoud, CO on October 29.  Neither the regulations nor Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) currently address this new issue.

Please see the City’s map of area wells here.  Anthem Ranch Oil and Gas Education Group (AROGEG) reports that two abandoned wells in Anthem Ranch are missing from the State’s/City’s maps.  The two wells are located at the south end of Quandry Loop, and are visible on the City’s detailed plat maps. Other area neighborhoods may want to check if there are wells missing in your area from the overview map.

Anthem Ranch Oil and Gas Education Group expressed their concerns in writing to the City about this accident-waiting-to-happen.  A former oil and gas professional in Anthem Ranch had the insight to red flag this problem even before the Berthoud Extraction accident.  At the first reading of the regulations at the Broomfield City Council Meeting on May 8, Jean Lim of Wildgrass asked the City to add regulations for it before their next review at Council.  A few Council Members commented that the Staff should consider the addition. 

The exact pad location for the wells designed to develop the resources under Anthem Ranch is still under evaluation and yet to be finalized, according to recent email from Extraction to the City.  The wells from the new Crestone Pad north of Anthem Ranch are expected to be drilled north.  The Livingston Pad wells will be drilled south into Wildgrass, Silverleaf and The Broadlands.  Any Broomfield area on the boundaries of another jurisdiction would be vulnerable to being drilled from outside the City .

This is what both groups stated that they would like to see added to the regulations:

“To protect the health and safety of our community, the regulations (both the Use by Special Review and the CDP processes) need to be modified to require information about wells that will be drilled into Broomfield from outside of the City/County limits.  Further, the regulations need to require soil testing around all abandoned wells in Broomfield if a well is going to be drilled near them, whether the location of the wellhead is inside or outside of Broomfield.” 

Changes also need to be made to the CDP to allow for the accident being caused by Extraction drilling 3000 feet away.  The October 24 MOU between the City and Extraction calls for Extraction to check the plugging of old wells within 1320 feet of their well bores before they are drilled.  Currently, the State (COGCC) only reviews requests to drill within 1500 feet of an old well.

Here is a link to the City’s regulations for developers that have abandoned wells on the property.