This approval allows Williams' exploration and production business to increase its number of subsurface drilling locations to between 1,500 and 2,000 from a current count of approximately 500.
The acreage in this application primarily covers private lands for which the company already has surface-use agreements in place.
"Results from this new area are very promising," said Ralph Hill, senior vice president of Williams' exploration and production business. "We have 15 wells producing an average of 12 million cubic feet per day on a gross basis. Reduced well spacing below the surface allows us to more effectively develop this important new natural gas resource.
"With the help of technology, we will continue to use responsible land management and surface practices. Our development techniques include directional drilling that allows us to drill multiple wells through a single surface location; wellhead automation; and equipment that virtually eliminates natural gas flaring."
The Trail Ridge area also is a candidate for Williams to apply new rig technology that ultimately reduces the size and number of surface locations needed to develop the reserves. Other benefits include improved safety through automation; faster, quieter and more compact operations; and reduced emissions and vehicular traffic. Williams has contracted with a Tulsa-based company to operate 10 of these technologically advanced rigs in the Piceance Basin over a three-year period.
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