Encana 'Disappointed' By Pavilion Comment Period Extension

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An Encana Corp. spokesperson expressed disappointment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) extension of the public comment period on the Pavilion draft report to Sept. 30, 2013, from its original conclusion date of Jan. 15.

The decision "is a disservice not only to Encana, but to the Pavilion of Pavilion and the State of Wyoming," said spokesperson Doug Hock in an email statement to Rigzone. "There's no credible reason for any further delay on this issue."

EPA said it would continue to review the status of the draft research report, "Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavilion, Wyoming", which was prepared by the National Risk Management Research Laboratory within the EPA Office of Research and Development and EPA Region 8. During the extended comment period, the EPA will post additional technical information on the web that will include additional details on how the study was conducted, recent information from Phase V sampling, and responses commonly raised by stakeholders. The EPA also will meet with key stakeholders during the period.

Encana has previously called on the EPA to withdraw its 2011 draft report on its evaluation of data from two monitoring wells at Encana's Pavilion natural gas field in Wyoming, calling the report data inaccurate and stating that it doesn't support the report's conclusions.

By dragging out the public comment process another eight months, the EPA is delaying all the embarrassing questions it will face from a peer review panel, said Simon Lomax, research director for the Denver-based Energy in Depth. Lomax maintains there is really no reason to convene such a panel.

"The problems identified by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey and others are so overwhelming that the EPA should withdraw the report now and abandon those faulty deep monitoring wells," Lomax explained.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com

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