Will drills come to Eagle County? | VailDaily.com

Will drills come to Eagle County?

Tom Boyd

A surprising name pops up when gas drilling and Eagle County are cross-referenced on a web site called, “Who owns the West?”: Magnus Lindholm.The Eagle County land baron has federal leases which give his Trust, the Piney Valley Ranches Trust, a lease on 5,057 acres of land in central-northern Eagle County.The list of others who are speculating in Eagle County’s energy reserves isn’t long. The only other individual on the list is Kenneth K. Farmer, of Casper, Wyo., who has 8,694 acres leased.But don’t expect either of these two to drill for gas in Eagle County anytime soon.”I have heard nothing about anyone drilling in Eagle County,” says Tricia Beaver, hearings manager for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which approves all permits to drill wells in Colorado. Piney Valley and Farmer have leased their land through the federal government but they would still have to go through quite a process to begin drilling in Eagle County.And no one has ever drilled for gas in Eagle County, according to the COGCC, because the county’s geology doesn’t look promising.Vince Matthews, director of the Colorado Geological Survey, says a site needs four elements to be considered good for drilling: 1) a source for oil or gas 2) porous rock or reservoir space 3) a seal over the surface and 4) a trap which collects the oil or gas over time.Eagle County has some of those things, he says, but not all.Over 300 drilling permits were issued by the COGCC in 2004 in Garfield County, where the Roan Plateau is located. None were issued in Eagle County.There are several reasons for this, Matthews says.”There’s lots of source there, and a lot of seals and traps,” he says. “But somebody else has already broken ground and found it there.”Despite the poor prospects for drilling in Eagle County, Matthews says that, “Anything can happen.”You just never know. It takes somebody who’s not risk averse. Somebody once said, ‘Oil is found in the minds of men,’ and these days you can add women to that. If somebody gets an idea that nobody’s had before then it’s off to the races.”Since 1982, nearly all of northwestern Eagle County has been leased at one time or another, according to Who owns the West? (see ewg.org). But it would take a person of great wealth and even larger gumption to actually try to drill.Does that sound like Mr. Lindholm?”Exploration geologists, by nature, have to be optimistic,” Matthews says.

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