Fracking Equipment May Move to Interchange B Pad on July 8 Pending Freshwater Piping

Despite many unanswered questions, a June 28 announcement on the Broomfield Oil and Gas webpage states that Extraction may move completions equipment to frack the Interchange B Pad as early as July 8.  According to the preface by the City and County of Broomfield (CCOB), the only barrier to this movement is that “timing is contingent on the large volume tanks and layflat pipe being in place for these operations.” 

You can read Extraction’s basic description of completions operations here.  It will likely raise resident concerns about the increase in the number of trucks carrying sand and chemicals going to the site.  It is also well known that operators engage in flaring operations during overflow conditions in flowback operations, resulting in the release of emissions dangerous to residents’ health and the climate.  Residents have been questioning if CCOB Air Quality monitoring data will be used in a timely manner to prevent this.    

The drilling of twelve wells on Interchange B was completed over the period from April 20 to the end of June, despite many health and safety complaints from nearby residents to CCOB, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).  These complaints centered on the usage of odorous, carcinogenic drilling mud Gibson D822 as residents suffered from short-term health impacts like sore throats, nosebleeds, and asthmatic complications and also questioned long-term health risks.  There were also numerous Extraction truck traffic violations reported during that period that did not result in any fines.

Additionally, Extraction has not secured all the mineral rights for the Interchange B Pad.  COGCC Docket Number 190400292 is a forced pooling protest for Huron South, a spacing unit for the Interchange B Pad.  This forced pooling protest hearing has not yet been held at the COGCC as most hearings have been delayed.  Under interim COGCC guidelines following the passage of SB19-181,  the operator must prove that they have secured 45% of the mineral interests in a spacing unit and made reasonable lease offers in good faith before a forced pooling order can be considered by the COGCC.  However, even though the hearing has not yet been held, current COGCC rules do not prohibit the operator from taking unleased minerals in fracking operations before securing them in forced pooling, at the operator’s own risk of incurring civil suits by mineral owners.   

The hydraulic fracturing of each well can take several million gallons of freshwater, so the Operator Agreement required that this be piped in to save “130,000 truck trips from area roads during the completions phase of operations,” according to Extraction’s announcement.  The water will be stored at the Webber H-1 MLVT facility which is still under construction, along with the installation of the layflat pipe to the pads.  This facility is north of 160th and east of Huron, and it had to be remediated due to a leak that was discovered in cleaning up a legacy well.  After COGCC approval of the MLVT site at the end of May under SB19-181 interim guidelines, CCOB posted Extraction’s notice that construction would begin around June 19 and end sometime in July.  There has been no update posted on completion of the MLVT facility and layflat piping.