Routt County signs off on second well bore at North Hayden

Tom Ross

— The Routt County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve Southwestern Energy’s plans to drill a second well bore on its existing North Hayden well pad.

Southwestern’s regulatory analyst Cheryl Rowell told the commissioners that the original well on the pad, about 5.1 miles north of Hayden on Routt County Road 80, was drilled vertically in 2014 and is still on “flowback” in the middle of the completion phase.

Flowback is a water-based solution that flows back to the surface during and after the completion of hydraulic fracturing.

The new well bore at North Hayden will be drilled horizontally and hydraulically fracked.

Tuesday’s permit hearing marked the second time in less than 30 days that Southwestern has sought to drill a second bore on an existing pad. The County commissioners gave the company permission Aug. 11 to do the same at the Dill Gulch pad, 3.25 miles south of Hayden.

Southwestern intends to pump water from the Yampa River to the Dill Gulch Pad in a collapsible hose that will lay on the surface of land where the company has negotiated rights to do so with property owners. However, the initial intent at North Hayden is to truck the water for the fracking process to the well site.

Rowell told the commissioners she wanted to emphasize that wildlife protection concerns that rule out drilling and completion operations for 122 days of every year make it a challenge to get the well done in a timely fashion. The drilling and completion phase will take a total of 116 days including 21 days for construction, 30 days of drilling, 30 days to prepare for completion operations and 35 days for completion operations.

“If everything goes right, we can get it done in that time,” she said. “On the original well, we had to ask for an extension.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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