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Drillers to abandon dry oil well

Posted: Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Photo by John McEvoy Workers disassemble piping used in the fracking process at the FLE drill site.

DEL NORTE—First Liberty Energy (FLE) announced on Friday it is abandoning the recently fracked Del Norte oil and gas well, because its production is not economical.

“The oil and gas recovery amounts were determined not to be economic, and the well was abandoned per COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) regulations,” confirmed FLE and Peterson Energy spokesperson Andy Peterson in an email Friday afternoon. “At the present time, FLE has no plans for additional drilling in the Valley.”

According to COGCC plugging and abandonment rules, “a dry or abandoned well, seismic, core, or other exploratory hole, must be plugged in such a manner that oil, gas, water, or other substance shall be confined to the reservoir in which it originally occurred. Any cement plug shall be a minimum of 50 feet in length and shall extend a minimum of fifty feet above each zone to be protected.”

Earlier this month, FLE fracked, the process of creating small cracks or fractures in underground geological formations to allow oil or natural gas to flow into the well bore, after telling the Rio Grande County Commissioners (RGCC) in January the extraction method was not a part of their plans.

According to the company’s agreement with RGC, the chemicals used in the fracking process were to be posted on FracFocus, a chemical disclosure registry, but had not been posted at press time on Monday.

In contrast, the Oklahoma-based company fully complied with RGC’s special use conditions, casing to 4,800 feet, 200 feet below the Conejos Formation base, and drilling beyond to approximately 9,250 feet to protect the aquifer from pollution.

In February, the RGCC approved the FLE permit to drill five miles northwest of downtown Del Norte with conditions including a pair specifically meeting community requests and the Rio Grande Hydrogeologic Study released earlier this year. The company agreed to exclusively employ a closed-loop, pitless system and extend the casing.

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