Rig 94 sat idle at the corner of Ranney and First streets in Craig. Carolyn Tucker, community relations representative for Shell Oil Company, said the rig was stalled by the Colorado Department of Transportation because of road damage concerns. Tucker said Moffat County officials helped foster an agreement with CDOT allowing Rig 94 to be transported to its drilling site a mile east of Harper Hill on Colorado Highway 317 near Hamilton.

Photo by Michelle Balleck

Rig 94 sat idle at the corner of Ranney and First streets in Craig. Carolyn Tucker, community relations representative for Shell Oil Company, said the rig was stalled by the Colorado Department of Transportation because of road damage concerns. Tucker said Moffat County officials helped foster an agreement with CDOT allowing Rig 94 to be transported to its drilling site a mile east of Harper Hill on Colorado Highway 317 near Hamilton.

Shell focused on exploratory operations near Craig

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A Shell Oil Company rig that had been delayed in operations and was sitting at the corner of Ranney and First streets is now onsite and drilling, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

Carolyn Tucker, community relations representative for Shell, said Rig 94 has been drilling for a “couple of weeks now” off Colorado Highway 317, about a mile east of another Shell drilling operation atop Harper Hill near Hamilton.

Tucker said Rig 94 was stalled by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

CDOT raised concerns about the rig’s weight and potential road damage to Colorado Highway 317 while in transport to the site.

But, Tucker said those concerns have been alleviated.

“The county has been wonderful in helping us on it,” Tucker said. “We were granted an exception to move the rig in and we’re working on a resolution to be able to move our rigs out before winter.

“The rig is up, it’s drilling and we’re back in business.”

Tucker said one well has already been drilled on Harper Hill and a second is in progress.

Once Rig 94 completes its operation, Shell will have three wells in the area.

“Rig 94 is drilling a horizontal well,” she said. “We’re not fracking.”

Tucker said drilling near Hamilton is exploratory and that Shell is trying to “define the field.”

However, Tucker said Shell is hoping to see some flow in the area soon.

“The plan is to complete the well and put them into production to see what kind of flow there is before winter,” Tucker said. “Folks are going to see a lot more activity out there during the whole month of November as we begin to move some production facilities into the area.”

Tucker said Shell is also in the process of modifying, adjusting, and upgrading facilities it acquired from Pennsylvania-based East Resources in the Waddle Creek area near Moffat County Road 37.

Shell purchased East Resources for $4.7 billion in the summer of 2010 and acquired the company’s existing leases.

Tucker said there are seven wells in the Waddle Creek area Shell took offline after the acquisition to make improvements and modifications to production facilities.

But, Shell recently brought two of the wells online and Tucker confirmed they are producing oil.

“I don’t know how much oil is being produced in Waddle Creek,” she said. “We’re happy with what we’re seeing so far, but there is no talk about whether that field will produce in commercial volume.”

Tucker said Shell is focused right now on exploratory operations.

“We’re going to finalize our 2012 exploration plan over the winter,” Tucker said. “Then, we’ll know how many wells there’s going to be and where they’re going.”

Tucker said Shell is happy to be working in the region.

“The county has been real supportive of our activities and so have the citizens,” she said. “We’re just real happy to be working in Moffat County.”

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