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RBC (AP) — Energy companies in Colorado are increasingly turning to directional drilling, a technique that reduces environmental damage and simplifies land-use negotiations by using a single site to sink multiple wells.
Nearly 57 percent of the state drilling permits issued through early December were for directional drilling, compared with 47 percent last year and 41 percent in 2005.
“From a landowner and environmental point of view, it decreases the surface impact,’’ said Doug Hock, a spokesman for EnCana Oil and Gas (USA).
“And with the new technologies that are now available, it is allowing us to do more and more wells directionally from a single pad,’’ Hock told the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent.
Hock said directional drilling also allows EnCana to access oil or gas beneath several parcels without negotiating surface agreements with the surface owners of each one.
He said EnCana can drill up to 28 wells from a single pad using directional drilling.
All the wells that Williams Production RMT drills in this region are directional, company spokeswoman Susan Alvillar said.
“It is imperative, especially in densely populated areas, to use directional drilling,’’ she said. Because a single rig can bore multiple wells from the same pad, “the landowner knows that once that drilling rig is gone from that particular location, it will never come back,’’ she said.
“That not only has been the key for working with landowners, it has also been the key for working with the (Colorado) Division of Wildlife on sensitive habitat areas,’’ she said.
The shift to directional drilling is welcome news to Duke Cox, interim executive director of the Western Colorado Congress, an advocacy group whose goals include environmental protection.
“We would like to see more of that,’’ he said.
Cox said his group hopes the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates energy drilling, will enact standards requiring directional drilling.