BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
THE STATE OF
IN THE MATTER OF EXPENDITURES FROM THE OIL AND GAS ) CAUSE NO. 1E
CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE FUND FOR )
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
1. Two orphaned, plugged
and abandoned wells in northwest
2. The Starbuck #1 Well (05-045-05049) is
located in the NW1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 25, Township 7 South, Range 92
West, 6th P.M.,
3. The Starbuck #1 Well was plugged and abandoned on October 21, 1967. Tubing was pulled, and the perforations from 2,960 feet to 2,976 feet were squeezed with 50 sacks of cement. The top-most joint of 5-1/2 inch production casing was backed off, and a 20 sack cement plug was pumped over the 5-1/2 inch production casing stub. The production casing was cut off 2 feet below ground, and a plate was welded onto the top of the production casing. The Starbuck #1 Well is currently leaking water with petroleum constituents to surface in an irrigated pasture. The water leaking from the well is ponded around the top of the well.
4. COGCC Staff proposes to stabilize the surface, drill out the surface casing plug, re-enter the production casing, perforate and squeeze cement at selected downhole intervals to control the flow of fluids to the surface, and re-set the surface casing plug in the Starbuck #1 Well. The estimated cost to re-enter and re-plug the Starbuck #1 Well is $200,000.
5. The Spaulding #1 Well (05-029-05013) is
located in the NE1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section 5, Township 15 South, Range 94
West, 6th P.M.,
The Spaulding #1 Well is an orphan well and was plugged using State
funds in 1996. The original State
plugging procedure called for setting a cast iron bridge plug in the casing at
580 feet and circulating cement from 100 feet to surface. However, upon re-entering the well, a leak or
possible cavern was encountered at 17 feet, and the casing was obstructed or
collapsed at 80 feet and the plugging procedure was modified. Cement
was bullheaded into the casing. COGCC
Staff subsequently tagged cement at 17 feet and suspected that the leak at 17
feet was taking large volumes of fluid.
COGCC Staff used lost circulation material to seal off the leak and
cemented the well to surface. The
Spaulding #1 Well began discharging water and carbon dioxide into the
7. COGCC Staff proposes to drill out the cement plug, drill through the obstruction at 80’, drill back into the casing or into the formation to an estimated depth of 600 feet, and cement the hole to surface. The estimated cost to re-enter and re-plug the Spaulding #1 Well is $50,000.
8. The facts set forth in the foregoing paragraphs Finding No. 1 through Finding No. 7 are the reasons that the Commission finds the immediate issuance of this emergency order is imperative for the preservation of public health and safety and that observance of the requirements for notice and hearing pursuant to §§24-4-105 or 34-60-108(2), C.R.S. (2004) would be contrary to the public interest.
9. The COGCC was appropriated Two Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($220,000) in fiscal year 2007-08 for the Plugging Abandonment and Wellsite Reclamation (PAWR) line item. These funds are regularly expended throughout the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, and have already been allocated for engineering projects to plug, abandon and reclaim orphan wellsites. Allocation of funds for the Starbuck #1 has been delayed because it would have consumed most of the available PAWR funds in any given fiscal year. PAWR funds for fiscal year 2007-08 have already been committed to other projects, leaving an insufficient balance to fund the proposed activities associated with re-entry, plugging and abandonment of the Starbuck #1 Well and the Spaulding #1 Well, which pose a current and ongoing threat to the environment. An appropriate source of funding for this work is the Emergency Response line item, which was established by the legislature for the first time in fiscal year 2006-07. This line item gives the COGCC access to One Million Five Hundred Thousand dollars ($1,500,000) from the Oil and Gas Conservation and Environmental Response Fund for the investigation, prevention, monitoring, and mitigation of circumstances which are caused by or are alleged to be associated with oil and gas activities and which call for immediate action by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. An emergency creates a threat to public health, safety, or welfare or to the environment as proclaimed by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director and approved by order of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
10. The total estimated cost to re-enter, plug and abandon the Starbuck #1 Well and the Spaulding #1 Well is Two Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars ($250,000.00). In accordance with §34-60-124(7), C.R.S., the Commission should authorize the expenditure of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars ($250,000.00) from the One Million Five Hundred Thousand dollars ($1,500,000.00) Emergency Response line item for the re-entry, plugging and abandonment of the Starbuck #1 Well and the Spaulding #1 Well.
NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that in
accordance with §34-60-124(7),
C.R.S., the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission shall authorize the
expenditure of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars ($250,000.00) from the One
Million Five Hundred Thousand dollars ($1,500,000.00) Emergency Response line
item for the investigation of significant adverse impacts to public health,
safety, welfare, and the
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.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that under the State Administrative Procedure Act the Commission considers this order to be final agency action for purposes of judicial review within thirty (30) days after the date this order is mailed by the Commission.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that an application for reconsideration by the Commission of this order is not required prior to the filing for judicial review.
ENTERED this day of July, 2007.
OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF
By Patricia C. Beaver, Secretary
July 23, 2007