Craig City Council updated on seismic testing

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Also at its Tuesday meeting the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, January bills totaling $297,655.65.

• Approved, 7-0, Jan. 25 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 7-0, the renewal of a tavern liquor license for the Golden Cavvy Restaurant & Lounge at 538 Yampa Ave. No cause was shown for denial.

• Approved, 7-0, a bid from Elam Construction for 2011 construction materials totaling $69,375.

• Approved, 7-0, a bid from Hanson International for two, single axle cab and chassis for $105,810 for both trucks.

• Approved, 7-0, a bid from O.J. Watson for purchase of two, 10-foot dump truck beds totaling $29,686 for both.

• Approved, 7-0, awarding a bid recommendation from the Craig Police Department to purchase a patrol vehicle, investigations sedan and investigations sports utility vehicle from Craig Ford totaling $80,582 for all three.

• Approved, 7-0, awarding LAWS with installation of various equipment for three new vehicles for the Craig Police Department totaling $12,230.53.

• Approved, 7-0, ordinance No. 1013, a supplemental appropriation ordinance to carryover 2010 budgeted projects or commitments not accomplished in 2010 into the 2011 budget.

Brent Jacobsen, a project manager for Geokinetics, said Tuesday a seismic exploration survey in Craig and portions of Moffat County is “kind of up in the air right now.”

Jacobsen presented an update on the project, which involves looking for oil and gas in the area through seismic testing, to the Craig City Council during its regular Tuesday meeting.

The on-the-ground work of the project, which entails about 53 acres, was expected to start in mid-January and be completed before the summer, he said.

However, Jacobsen said the company has not started the process of laying receiving cables and driving vibrating trucks, also called thumpers, over the company’s area of interest.

“The permitting hasn’t gone as fast as we had hoped to and we’re afraid we are going to run into the spring thaw here,” he said. “So, we are waiting on the people at corporate to make a decision.”

When asked if Geokinetics was having problems with obtaining landowner permission for the testing, Jacobsen said, “It is nothing I really want to discuss.”

Jacobsen also asked Tuesday for the city council to allow the company to conduct seismic testing on two city-owned parcels of land south of town.

In mid-December, the city council stipulated the company could not use vibrating trucks inside the city on city property or right-of-ways, citing concerns about possible damage to buildings, pipes and other utilities.

Instead, Geokinetics agreed to only place receiving cables and stations on city property and to not drive thumpers through city limits, except on a limited portion of private property with landowner permission.

“When I left here the last time I thought council was giving us directions to not allow any vibration on city property,” said Bill Earley, Craig Public Works director, when asked about the new areas of interest for seismic testing.

However, Earley said he didn’t have many concerns with allowing the company to vibrate the ground on the two pieces of land — one of which is east of Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s Craig Station, and the other near the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

“I don’t have a lot of problems with this,” he said. “They have moved it back so the ground won’t be frozen.

“My initial fear was that when you have five or six feet of frost and you are doing that vibration, you might as well put the equipment right on top of our pipes. But, now they have moved it back, I don’t have any problem with those particular sites.”

City attorney Kenny Wohl said the “pipes are always the issue.”

“But, if it is not an issue here (at city council), I don’t think there is a problem,” he said.

Jacobsen said his company is working within an April 1 deadline to conduct vibration in the county due to an agreement with the Moffat County Commission that also stipulates the company could only operate on frozen or dry ground.

Jacobsen said if the company was unable to conduct the vibration before the ground thaws, it would likely come back when the ground is dry in the summer.

“Either we hurry and go for it, or wait until July,” he said.

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