Mineral contract yields $160K for Moffat County

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In other action …

At its regular meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Awarded, 3-0, a $2,700 bid to High Desert Ranch for a fence project at the Hamilton Community Center.

• Denied, 2-1, waiving a bid process for computer software requested by the grounds and maintenance department pending a workshop by the service provider.

• Approved, 3-0, a $39,794 bid from Patriot Highway Markings for county road striping.

• Heard a monthly report from Bill Mack and Linda DeRose, of the road and bridge department.

• Heard from Moffat County Land Use Board member Jean Stetson, who advised the commission not support new wilderness areas.

• Approved, 3-0, sending a letter to the Bureau of Land Management stating the commission’s opinion on proposed routes for new power lines.

• Approved, 2-0, Juvenile Services Planning Commission members. County commissioner Audrey Danner was selected for the board and excused herself from voting members..

• Approved, 3-0, the Moffat County Federal Mineral Lease District service plan.

• Excused, 3-0, $9,300 in uncollectible taxes.

The Moffat County Commission approved, 3-0, a mineral lease contract for 160 acres of county-owned land during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The agreed upon price was $1,000 per acre.

Quicksilver Resources, a Fort Worth, Texas-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company, received the contract.

The going rate for most mineral lease agreements in Moffat County is about $600 per acre, said Jeff Comstock, county natural resources director.

Quicksilver agreed to $1,000 per acre because the 160-acre tract has never been explored before, Comstock said.

“It’s never been leased in history,” Comstock said. “It’s actually a very interesting case because no one knew who actually owned this tract.”

According to research by Quicksilver’s title expert, the 160-acre tract was re-platted by the federal government in 1907, when what is now Moffat County was part of Routt County.

Since then, numerous mineral exploration companies have tried to lease the land, but gave up because of ownership uncertainties between Moffat and Routt counties, Comstock said.

“Initially we thought it was (Bureau of Land Management) land,” Comstock said. “But, a prudent title person at Quicksilver made the discovery, and even went to Routt to confirm it.”

Comstock said he called the BLM to double check Quicksilver’s findings.

In addition to owning the land, Moffat County owns all of the minerals below the surface.

“We actually now have the complete title work on this piece of land,” Comstock said. “We’re 100 percent confident that we own the land and the minerals, and that BLM won’t challenge that we own them.”

In addition to the $160,000 lease agreement, Moffat County will receive an 18.75-percent royalty from Quicksilver if the company makes a find.

“In other words,” county commissioner Tom Gray said, “if they (Quicksilver) find oil and the going rate is $100 per barrel, hypothetically, the county will get $18.75.”

The 160-acre parcel, referred to as Lot 15, sits on the banks of the Yampa River in Township 5, about 10 miles southwest of Craig.

The lease agreement with Quicksilver is good for five years, but does not stipulate a specific date on which exploration will begin.

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Comments

onewhocares 3 years, 4 months ago

"The 160-acre parcel, referred to as Lot 15, sits on the banks of the Yampa River in Township 5, about 10 miles southwest of Craig."

What am I missing here? WHY would you allow ANY drilling or exploration at ALL near a river basin, given the chemicals that they use , next to a river that eventually leads into the Colorado, providing water for the masses out west ? Have not any of the spills near water ways been a clue this is a totally irresponsible practice????? The extent of greed by the Commissioners and oil companies is beyond reproach and beyond comprehension. It is one thing to drill in a responsible manner, (far away from homes, towns & rivers), it is quite another next to the resource that provides life.

Secondly, I have not read one thing about the dangers drilling so close to our deep mines creates for all the men and women that risk their lives everyday to go 5000 feet underground. Arkansas had a swarm of earthquakes (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/117167/20110228/arkansas-earthquake-natural-gas-link.htm) at the beginning of the year, eventually believing drilling (or rather pumping water back in) was the cause & even ceasing drilling activity. How can either Routt or Moffat consciously drill within a 50 mile (at least) radius of Twentymile or the other deep mines? Are the gas & oil companies & the Commissioners going to be responsible when a mine collapses on these unappreciated heroes that are down there from the shaking of the earth ? ?? I'd love to hear an answer by both. The families of the miners and the miners themselves deserve that much.

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CSM 3 years, 4 months ago

Onewhocares, it seems that you are missing a lot. First off, please read the Colorado oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) rules and regulations. Once you have finished the entire one-thousand plus page document then you can post all the asinine comments you want. The COGCC has rules and regulations that must be met in order to obtain a permit to drill and construct a well pad. Spill prevention, containment, storm water management plans must all be in place before a well is drilled and while a well pad is being constructed. Secondly, the county mineral rights were leased, no drilling has even taken place. I am assuming you live in Moffat county, you will benefit from the revenue that the county and state receives from this lease sale. If oil is discovered then the potential revenue for the county could be fairly large. The county commissioners personally receive no money for the mineral contract, all that money goes to the county budget. If you live in Moffat you are as guilty as the commissioners of being greedy since you will have newly paved roads and clean sidewalks. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Thirdly, the only underground mine in the area is Twenty mile, Trapper and RioTinto are both strip mines. There are thousands of well in hundreds of small fields around Routt and Moffat county that are a lot closer the Twenty Mile than this lease sale. Any negative impacts, NONE. There are new wells along Twenty Mile road and are a few miles from the mine and still no collapse. I bet you know nothing about coal mining, or oil and gas drilling.

What you are missing is an education on the COGCC rules and regulations.

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calvinhobbs 3 years, 4 months ago

Onewhocares, did you read the article you linked?

Scott Ausbrooks, geohazard supervisor of the Arkansas Geological Survey, said there is as yet no evidence that the wells used for the salt water are having any effect. But the local gas companies are submitting their data to the state, and as earthquakes happen they can be checked against whether a well was running. While it is true that the latest group of earthquakes happened after the wells were on line, a similar event in 1982 happened without any wells being active.

One thing Ausbrooks said should be emphasized is that there is no evidence that the fracturing or "fracking" of natural gas bearing shale has anything to do with the shaking. Fracking is when high-pressure fluid is used to fracture the rock, and draw out more gas. "There is no data to say it's from the hydro fracking process," he said.

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Terrie Barrie 3 years, 4 months ago

I thought some might be interested in the US Dept. of Energy's Advisory Board's recommendations on shale gas development.

http://energy.gov/articles/secretary-energy-advisory-board-subcommittee-releases-shale-gas-recommendations

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