The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has announced its selections for outstanding operators in 2011. The awards recognize the accomplishments of the oil and gas industry in operational and environmental areas as well as in community involvement.
This round of awards marks the 16th year the agency has highlighted top operators. Companies recognized for their accomplishments in 2011 include Anadarko Petroleum, East Cheyenne Gas Storage, Encana Oil and Gas (USA), Oxy USA WTP, SG Interests I and WPX Energy Rocky Mountain. The awards were announced at the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s annual conference in Denver.
“We want to highlight examples of companies that are moving the industry forward and showing exceptional leadership when it comes to protection of the environment, and in working productively with the communities in which they operate,” said COGCC director Matt Lepore. “Operators in Colorado are among the industry’s best, and their work here is setting the pace and the example nationally.”
A summary of the award recipients follows.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND RECLAMATION
Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. – The company has converted 23% of its fleet and 50% of the drilling rigs to operate on natural gas (CNG). Encana has also coordinated with Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) and has sponsored the conversion of 22 RFTA transit buses to CNG as well as two vehicles for the City of Rifle. Further, Encana helped fund CNG fueling stations in Grand Junction and Rifle.
Encana is using an innovative, “one touch” method to reclaim disturbed sites within the Piceance Basin. The process involves aggressive surface roughing, use of diverse native vegetation and returning the land to pre-development condition. Roadways were reclaimed and closed by removal of all improvements, grading out all ditches and unit. The technology has provided SG Interests with a “Site Stability Model” planning tool to locate facilities such as roads, gathering pipelines, wells, well pads, and production facilities in a way that reduces environmental and aesthetic impacts. The use of LIDAR provided SG Interests with a tool to optimize setbacks from buildings, streams and wetlands, plus reduce impact on vegetation and help reduce erosion.
RECYCLING and REUSE
Oxy USA WTP LP (Oxy) – Oxy developed methods to recycle and reuse produced water within the Piceance Basin by filtering 6,400 to 10,000 barrels per day for use in its drilling, completion and fracturing operations. The improved water management has reduced the need for produced water storage and disposal as well as demands for fresh water. This water management program used pipelines to collect and distribute water, reducing the truck traffic and impacts to public roadways. Oxy estimates that 1,600,000 barrels have been recycled for reuse through this program.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION THROUGH FOOTPRINT REDUCTION & WASTE MINIMIZATION
WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, LLC – WPX created a new rig design called “split rig” to manage the steep topographic challenges of western Colorado. The rig design includes the derrick and substructure surrounded by engines, mud handling equipment and tanks, along with housing trailers, all engineered to stretch lengthwise to match the narrow topography of many valleys. The rig design results in a smaller activity footprint and better access during the drilling of a 21-well pad.
WPX Energy conducted a system-wide review to reduce impacts related to traffic, emissions, dust, spills and noise and water. Improvements included fully automated water treatment facilities in Rulison and Parachute as well a network of pipelines in the Piceance Basin. The investment has reduced truck trips by 95 percent, water handling costs by 60 percent and improved water recycling.
In another project, WPX solidifies and stabilizes drill cuttings by blending them with a fiber product derived from beetle-killed trees, a method that also provides an additional market for beetle-kill. The remediation process dramatically reduced liquid content, as well as gasoline- and diesel-range organics.