CO2 drilling approved in monument

Kinder Morgan, Inc., has received the go ahead from the San Juan Public Lands Center to build two new CO2 wells in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, northwest of Cortez.

The two wells will be drilled on Bureau of Land Management land – one in the Hovenweep area, the other in the Yellow Jacket area. Targeting the Leadville Formation beneath the monument, the wells will reach depths of more than 8,200 feet. Each well will require a 6-acre pad as well as another acre for roads and pipeline, which will tie into an existing pipeline structure.

The plan calls for the CO2 to be piped to Texas, where it will be used to boost the productivity of aging oil wells.

If the CO2 wells prove unproductive, they will be abandoned and reclaimed, according to the BLM.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan is the country’s leading producer of natural gas and production pipelines, with more than 35,000 miles of pipeline. It extracts some 400 million cubic feet of CO2 a day from U.S. wells.

The BLM estimates that the culturally rich 164,000-acre monument contains as many as 100 archaeological sites per square mile. According to the San Juan Public Lands Center, about 85 percent of the monument is leased for oil and gas extraction. In 2000, the monument produced about 272 billion cubic feet of CO2.

The environmental assessment and decision record for the drilling is available online at canm/index.html. Hard copies are available at the San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnett Court.

Animas River Bridge given county OK

After a few years in the planning stage, construction of the new Animas River Bridge, south of the Purple Cliffs area, is set to begin in early 2004.

“We were given the go-ahead by the county to get the Animas River Bridge in,” said La PLata County Engineer Rick Routh.

The Animas River Bridge is the focal point of an effort to realign County Road 213, also known as La Posta Road, away from the dangerous Purple Cliffs section. The bridge, which will cross the river behind Home Depot, will provide access from areas south and west of La Posta Road, such as Koshack Mesa, to the Highway 550/160 corridor.

The overall project extends from the Kaycee Lane/Animas Airpark intersection on La Posta Road to the intersection of Highway 550/160 with River Road, which provides access to Home Depot and Escalante Crossing. The intersections were completed in 2002, and the bridge approach from the Escalante Crossing side of the river is currently under construction.

The La Plata County Road and Bridge Department hopes to award bid for the project in December so work on the bridge piers can begin in early January 2004, when river levels and potential impacts on aquatic life are the lowest, Routh said.

The county has budgeted $4.9 million for the project, which includes $1.2 million from an energy impact grant. Another $245,000 in development impact fees, which were adopted in 1999, also will go toward the bridge’s construction.

The bridge piers should be in by March 2004 with completion of the bridge slated for September 2004.

-compiled by Missy Votel





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