BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
IN THE MATTER OF A REQUEST TO AMEND OR APPEAL ) CAUSE NO. 1
ORDER NO. 1V-238 ISSUED TO MONUMENT GAS )
MARKETING, INC. KIOWA COUNTY, COLORADO ) ORDER NO. 1-100
This cause came on for hearing before the Commission on January 6, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. in Suite 801, the Chancery Building, 1120 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado, on a Motion to Reconsider and for an order to amend or repeal Order No. 1V-238 issued September 23, 2002.
1. Monument Gas Marketing, Inc, (“Monument”), as applicant herein is an interested party in the subject matter of the above-referenced hearing.
2. Due notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing has been given in all respects as required by law.
3. The Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter embraced in said notice and of the parties interested therein, and jurisdiction to promulgate the hereinafter prescribed order.
4. On September 23, 2002 the Commission issued Order No. 1V-238 which found Monument Gas Marketing, Inc. (“Monument”) in violation of Rule 319.a.(1) for the Bucklen #2-34 Well, located in the SW¼ NW¼ of Section 34, Township 17 South, Range 46 West, 6th P.M. Monument was ordered to re-enter the Bucklen #2-34 Well and properly plug the well no later than February 1, 2003.
5. On October 24, 2002, Monument Gas Marketing, Inc. filed with the Commission a Motion to Reconsider to either amend or repeal the subject Order No. 1V-238 and find that Monument is not in violation of Rule 319.a.(1) for the Bucklen #2-34 Well.
6. On November 5, 2002, Monument filed with the Commission a written request to continue this matter to the January 2003 hearing due to scheduling conflicts.
7. A prehearing conference was held at the Commission’s request for the matter on December 12, 2002, at which time Monument was asked to bring exhibits for review by the Hearing Officer and to prepare a brief describing why the Commission should reconsider the matter.
8. On December 30, 2002, a brief prepared by Delwyn Haroldson, attorney for Monument, was submitted to the Commission.
9. On January 2, 2003, COGCC staff submitted its recommendation, based on its review of Monument’s exhibits, regarding Monument’s Motion to Reconsider to the Commission and to Monument.
10. On January 5, 2003, Monument submitted to the Commission an Addendum to the Motion to Reconsider.
11. After hearing arguments from Monument in support of its Motion and from COGCC staff in support of its position, the Commission voted in favor of hearing evidence not presented at the first hearing on September 23, 2002.
12. Mr. Jack Hickey, Geologist for Monument, provided testimony regarding the plugging and abandonment of the Bucklen #2-34 Well, including his interpretation of the top of the Cheyenne Formation. Mr. Hickey testified that his interpretation of the top of the Cheyenne Formation was correct and that the well was properly plugged. Mr. Hickey testified that COGCC staff’s interpretation of the Cheyenne Formation top was incorrect. He provided additional testimony regarding his belief that the Cheyenne Formation is not a viable drinking water source, his experience plugging wells in Kiowa County, and information on plugging records from wells surrounding the Bucklen #2-34 Well.
13. Mr. Joe Poole, Senior Engineer for Schlumberger, provided testimony by telephone regarding his November 11, 2002 letter and his unsigned affidavit regarding the water salinity in the Cheyenne Formation in the Bucklen #2-34 Well.
14. Mr. Scott Robinson, Geological Manager for Murfin Drilling Company, provided testimony by telephone regarding his December 12, 2002 letter and his affidavit regarding the water salinity in the Cheyenne Formation in the Bucklen #2-34 Well and his opinion on reentering the well to set another cement plug. Mr. Robinson’s testimony indicated he was in agreement with COGCC staff’s interpretation of the top of the Cheyenne Formation.
15. Mr. Peter Debenham, Consulting Geologist, provided testimony regarding his November 25, 2002 letter and his opinion that the original formation tops, including the Cheyenne Formation, picked by Mr. Hickey for the Bucklen #2-34 Well are correct and are accepted by other company geologists working the area.
COGCC STAFF EVIDENCE
16. Mr. Glenn Graham, Senior Geologist with the Division of Water Resources, provided testimony regarding the Cheyenne and Dakota aquifers in Kiowa County and concurred with COGCC staff’s interpretation of the Dakota and Cheyenne aquifers identified in the Bucklen #2-34 Well. Mr. Graham also testified that the water quality in the Dakota and Cheyenne aquifers is similar, with the water in the Cheyenne Formation being slightly more saline than in the Dakota Formation.
17. Mr. David Shelton, Engineer, provided testimony regarding the water salinity in the Cheyenne Formation and the spontaneous potential curve interpretation. Mr. Shelton concluded that the aquifer is less saline than Monument’s testimony indicated. Mr. Shelton presented evidence showing that Mr. Debenham had submitted geologic reports to the Commission consistent with COGCC staff’s interpretation of the top of the Cheyenne Formation. Mr. Shelton further testified that the Cheyenne Formation needs to be isolated from the Blaine Salt Formation to prevent contamination of the aquifer.
18. Mr. Loren Avis, Environmental Protection Specialist, provided testimony regarding the results from the Dakota Formation water wells tested surrounding the Bucklen #2-34 Well and that the total dissolved solids in the nearest Dakota water well is less than 2000 ppm.
19. Based on the testimony and exhibits presented, the Commission finds that the original order issued for the Bucklen #2-34 Well should not be rescinded because the applicant has provided insufficient evidence to show that the COGCC staff’s interpretation of the top of the Cheyenne Formation was incorrect, the applicant has not proved adequate isolation exists between the Cheyenne Formation and the Blaine Salt Formation, and the applicant has not proved that the water in the Cheyenne Formation is of unusable quality.
NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that the request to amend or repeal Order No.1V-238 is hereby denied and the provisions of Order No. 1V-238 shall remain in effect.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the provisions contained in the above order shall become effective forthwith.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission expressly reserves its right, after notice and hearing, to alter, amend or repeal any and/or all of the above orders.
ENTERED this day of February 2003, as of January 6, 2003.
OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
Patricia C. Beaver, Secretary
Dated at Suite 801
1120 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado 80203
February 4, 2003