Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Results of 3rd El Paso County oil-drilling attempt due in 6 months

By Ned Hunter Published: February 5, 2014

Mustang Creek expects to finish drilling its exploratory oil well in eastern El Paso County in about three weeks.

The company, a subsidiary of Denver-based NexGen Oil & Gas, started drilling its El Paso well on Jan. 10. It has received state permits to drill a second well in Elbert County but has not yet applied for permits on that project.

Mustang Creek is the third company to drill within El Paso County. Two other Houston-based oil companies previously halted drilling in the county after the oil found was less than commercial-grade quality. But Mustang Creek is drilling nearly 5,000 feet deeper than those two companies in hopes of finding usable oil.

The company will not have test results for at least a month after it reaches final drilling depths, said Andrea Gross, who represented NexGen at Wednesday's meeting of the El Paso County Oil & Gas Local Designee Meeting.

The informational meetings are held at various times during the year to update county officials and the public about the extent and progress of drilling in El Paso County. Gross said the results of Mustang's oil tests will not be made public for at least six months after the company learns the results, as allowed by state law.

The informational meeting turned heated Wednesday when Bruce Hamilton, a concerned resident pointed at Gross and called her a "liar" when she responded to a question he asked about fracking. Gross' answer was that there is no documented proof that fracking hurts the environment.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a type of drilling that pumps water and chemicals below the earth's surface to cause fissure in rocks through which oil and natural gas can be extracted. Mustang creek has said it will only vertically drill its local well, at least until test results are known.

About five members of a Colorado Springs-based anti-fracking group also attended the meeting and demanded answers to the state's involvement, or lack of involvement, with ensuring safe drilling in the state and county.

Bob Gross and other NexGen employees who usually attend the informational meetings were in Houston on Wednesday at a convention.

The next update meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 7.

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275

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