Summer Field Program - August
8 - 13, 2005
2005 EMFI Government Field Program began on Monday, August 8, with a Welcoming
Breakfast at the Golden Hotel in Golden, Colorado. Dr. Dag Nummedal,
Director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute (CERI), was introduced
and provided a comprehensive overview of the status of energy production
and consumption in the U.S., noting the roles to be played by the various
energy resources the field program was about to visit. Dr. Gary Baughman,
Director of the EMFI and Director of the Office of Special Programs and
Continuing Education (SPACE) at CSM, then introduced the EMFI staff: Mr.
Jim Proud, Mr. Oscar Galvis, Ms. Melody Francisco, and Mr. Erling Brostuen. Mr. Proud and Mr. Galvis handled many of the
logistical arrangements for the trip and were largely responsible for preparation
of the Field Guide. Ms. Francisco handled all of the program meals and lodging,
and provided other logistical support. Mr. Brostuen, the former Director
of the EMFI, was instrumental in making initial contacts with the site hosts.
Dr. Baughman also introduced
the Program's primary Resource Expert, Mr. John Rold. Mr. Rold,
now a consultant, was Director of the Colorado Geological Survey for 24
years and also has many years of experience in the energy and minerals
industry. Given that the geology of the Rocky Mountains is largely responsible
for all of the energy
Jeff Roedell of
Chevron describes the drilling process
to Brian Caruso (EPA).
resources to be discussed during the program, from
the formation of the coal, oil, and natural gas deposits, to the topography
which provides excellent solar and hydro resources, it is essential that
the participants become familiar with that geology during the trip. Mr.
Rold provided commentary throughout the trip on the geology of the region,
as well as a wealth of other information, including geography, history,
agriculture, current events, and philosophy, interspersed with his special
brand of humor!
introduced were two resource experts from the Colorado School of Mines who
participated in the entire program - Dr. Ramona Graves, a Professor
in the CSM Petroleum Engineering Department, and Dr. John Cuddington,
Coulter Professor in the Division of Economics and Business.
Each of the participants then
introduced themselves and identified their respective affiliations. The
2005 participants represented a number of federal offices, both Congressional
and Executive, and also had a wide range of professional experience. During
the course of the program, participants were encouraged to share information
regarding their agencies and organizations.
Baughman then provided an overview of the various operational details of the
trip, ranging from the importance of punctuality and attendance at all scheduled
activities, to the use of the "communicators" and the "All-a-Board,"
to the prohibition on cellphone use during the instructional portions of the
The final introduction of the morning
was Mr. Rod West the bus driver from Gray Lines - in whose hands we placed
our lives for much of the remainder of the trip! Rod proved to be not only an
outstanding driver, maneuvering the 47-passenger bus into places most of us
would have trouble driving cars, but also a personable traveling companion who
joined us on most site visits.
Mike Heben of NREL
explains nanotube chemistry to Bonnie Cannon (Office of Rep. Cubin), Aaron
Flynn (CRS), Jim Proud (EMFI), and other participants.
participants then loaded onto the bus (their luggage having been loaded
by the EMFI staff during breakfast) and headed for the first site visit
of the trip - the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The NREL
visit had been organized by Lee Boughey, Stakeholder Partnerships
Manager at NREL. The participants were welcomed to NREL by Chris Phoebe,
Acting Manager of the DOE Golden Field Office, and by Bob Noun, Deputy
Associate Director of NREL. The group first visited the Alternative Fuels
User Facility where Andy Aden and Bob Wallace explained the
Biomass Process Development Unit used for converting cellulosic and hemicellulosic
material into energy fuels. At the Field Test Laboratory Building, the participants
learned about NREL's hydrogen production and storage research from Lynnae
The group then broke up into two groups, one going to the Photo-Biological
Hydrogen Production Laboratory with Maria Ghirardi, and the other
learning about carbon nanoscience as applied to hydrogen storage from Mike
Following lunch, the attendees
were introduced to NREL's photovoltaic research by Roland Hulstrom,
Deputy Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics. Moving on to
the Outdoor Test Facility, the EMFI participants learned about the practical
aspects of photovoltaics from Peter McNutt. The final stop on the
NREL tour was at the National Wind Technology Center, located several
miles north of Golden. Here, Bob Thresher, Director of the NWTC
familiarized the participants with all aspects of NREL's wind energy program. Jim Johnson, Site Engineer, then gave the participants a tour of
the blade testing laboratory where massive wind turbine blades were being
statically and dynamically tested.
| The participants then boarded the
bus and headed for Glenwood Springs for the evening. The trip up I-70 through
the Eisenhower Tunnel and Glenwood Canyon provided an outstanding opportunity
for John Rold to acquaint the participants with the geology of the region. John
provided a basic introduction to geology and also a commentary on the various
issues related to construction of I-70 and the natural hazards of the area (landslide
mitigation, rock slides, floods, land use issues, etc.). Interestingly, one
week after we drove this route, a major rockslide onto I-70 near Idaho Springs
halted traffic for over seven hours and disrupted traffic on the interstate
highway for over one week! While such an event would have made John's remarks
more pertinent, we were grateful that the event occurred after our program.
Arriving at the Historic Hotel Colorado,
the participants checked in and were then "on their own" for the evening.
Some found interesting trails to hike, others located the local dining establishments,
and one group even geared up for their own barbeque and feasted in a local park!
The second day began at 7:30
am with breakfast in the hotel. Duane Zavadil, representing the
Bill Barrett Corporation, provided an introduction to his company's tight
gas sands drilling operations in the Mamm Creek area, and explained the
directional drilling technology being used. The bus was loaded and we
headed for Silt, Colorado, where Mr. Zavadil joined us on the bus for
the short ride up to Barrett's drilling operations.
The drilling rig was just being
set up, so it afforded the participants an opportunity to walk around
and climb onto
the rig without the major safety concerns associated with operating rigs.
Zavadil explained in detail how the drilling operations are conducted, how
increased subsurface well density is achieved with directional drilling,
how the complex lenticular reservoir characteristics dictate/permit various
drilling approaches, and how the whole process is regulated by various state
and federal agencies. The tall "light screen" surrounding the
drilling site also highlighted the efforts being made by Barrett to mitigate
the visual impact of the operations on neighboring residents.
of Bill Barrett Corporation explains the operation of
a tri-cone drill bit to participants at the Mamm Creek drilling site.
|At 11:00 am, the Barrett tour was
completed and the bus headed to Battlement Mesa, for lunch and a panel discussion
on energy development in the Piceance Creek area hosted by Mesa State College.
The meeting was held in the Battlement Mesa Activity Center, which highlighted
the fact that the creation of the entire Battlement Mesa community was the result
of the oil shale boom/bust of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The community
discussion was moderated by Kathy Hall, Principal with Kathy Hall &
Associates and Director of the Western Oil and Gas Association. On the panel
were David Foster, an attorney specializing in split-estate issues (surface
rights held by one party and the mineral rights held by another); Art Goodtimes,
a Commissioner from San Miguel County, a Club 20 Board Member, and a member
of the BLM Resource Advisory Council; Larry Kent, District Manager for
the Western Slope Franchise of Halliburton; and Craig Meis, Mesa County
Commissioner and CEO of Cordilleran Compliance Services. Following presentations
by the panelists, a lively Q&A session with the participants followed, expanding
on the legal, political, technical, and environmental issues raised. The EMFI
is grateful to Craig Glogowski, Rick Adleman, and others at Mesa
State College for organizing this event.
Departing the Activity Center at
2:00 pm, the bus headed into the Piceance Basin to Shell Exploration and Production
Company's Mahogany Oil Shale Project, where we were met by Terry O'Connor,
Vice President for External & Regulatory Affairs at Shell Unconventional
Resource Energy. Following a briefing by Mr. O'Connor, the participants loaded
onto the bus for the short ride up to pilot project, where Operations Manager Ken Brown candidly answered a host of questions regarding the company's
pilot project and the plans for the next phase of research. The pilot tests
to date, involving the slow heating of the oil shale using downhole electrical
resistance heaters, has been very successful. In addition, the initial tests
to create an "ice wall" to isolate the shale oil production area have
been encouraging. The next series of tests, hopefully involving an area to be
leased under the new BLM leasing program, is scheduled to be completed by 2010
and a decision regarding the future commercialization of the technology will
be made at that time. At 5:00 pm, the participants concluded the Shell tour
and headed towards Craig for the evening, with dinner at a local restaurant
and lodging at the Holiday Inn.
Wednesday began with breakfast at
the hotel at 7:00 am, followed by a brief bus ride to the Trapper Coal Mine,
which produces nearly 2 million tons per year. The site visit began with presentations
by Ray DuBois, President and General Manager of Trapper Mining, along
with a number of other Trapper personnel. A presentation was also provided by Stuart Sanderson, President of the Colorado Mining Association and Dianna
Orf, lobbyist for the CMA. Surprisingly, the weather included some light-to-heavy
drizzle, making the bus drive into the mine rather "interesting."
One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to get onto a working
dragline, so the participants did not hesitate to follow our guide, Forrest
Luke, and walk through the mud to reach the dragline, even though the bus
could only get within about 100 yards of the site. Every few steps added several
inches to everyone's height, but the effort was worth it. Unfortunately, the
mud that could not be scraped off prior to boarding the bus again ended up on
the bus floor - and we owe a debt of gratitude to Rod, the driver, for his patience
and janitorial efforts that evening!
taking photos inside the dragline bucket at the Trapper Coal Mine.
| The Trapper Mine has received many
awards for its reclamation efforts, and the participants had the opportunity
to see first-hand the results of those efforts and appreciate the emphasis put
on environmental issues by the company. While there are, indeed, a number of
"bad actors" in the Western coal industry, it was pointed out that
Trapper's environmental efforts are more the industry norm than the exception.
Following lunch at the
Trapper Mine, the EMFI bus headed down the road to Tri-State Generation and
Transmission Association's Craig Station, which turns Trapper's coal into electricity.
Following an introductory presentation by Jim Mattern, the Engineering
Manager, the participants were treated to a comprehensive tour of the 1,274-megawatt
facility, including the opportunity to look directly into the operating boiler.
Our thanks to Bob Baca, Sharon Green, and their colleagues for
an excellent tour. The visit also proved valuable in drying out everyone's clothes
following the rather soggy visit to the Trapper Mine!
Following final questions and answers,
and exchanging cards, the participants left the Craig Station at 3:30 pm and
headed for Meeker, Colorado and the historic Meeker Hotel. There we were greeted
with some surprises, as Vice President Cheney has stayed in the Meeker area
one day before and the support personnel (communications, Secret Service, etc.)
had taken over the entire hotel. Without sufficient time to completely restore
order, a few room changes were required - but the participants took everything
in stride and most found the Meeker Hotel to be "quaint," "rustic,"
and having lots of "character!" Following dinner at the hotel, the
participants enjoyed the local flavor of Meeker.
The next morning, after breakfast
at the Meeker Hotel, the bus headed west toward Rangely, Colorado and
Chevron's (the corporate "ChevronTexaco" name has been replaced)
Rangely oil field. Here we were introduced to the history of the field
by Ron Wackowski and Jeff Roedell, from its discovery in
1901 (Mancos shale), to the drilling of the Raven A-1 discovery well (in
the Weber Unit) in 1933, to initial development in the 1940s, to secondary
recovery using water flooding in the 1960s and 1970s, to the
CO2 tertiary recovery efforts which began in 1986.
The group first visited the Raven A-1 discovery well, then visited an
operating drilling rig. Finally a brief visit to a production well and
separation unit completed the tour. Upon returning to the office conference
room, the site visit ended with lunch and more questions and answers.
then began a two-hour bus ride to Flaming Gorge Dam, during which time
some seized the opportunity to work on their critiques of the previous
site visits and activities. In addition, participant Jim Kinney gave a brief on-bus review of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in preparation
for the Flaming Gorge visit. Upon arriving at the Visitors Center, the
participants were welcomed by Warren Blanchard, Plant Manager,
and a formal presentation on the Colorado River Storage Project, the 502-foot-high
Flaming Gorge Dam, and the 108-MW Hydroelectric Power Station. An excellent
tour of the dam and power plant followed, including stops at the generators,
seeing the rotating turbine shafts "up close and personal,"
visiting the in-dam facilities, and the obligatory stop to feed the huge
trout at the base of the dam.
The Flaming Gorge
| The drive between the dam and Rock
Springs, Wyoming, provided not only dramatic panoramic views, but also an opportunity
for the participants to gather with their "evaluation panels" and
conduct their evaluations of the trip to date. Lodging and the dinner meal was
at the Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, where a few of the participants found the
local bowling alley and nearby watering holes.
Bonnie Cannon (Office
of Rep. Cubin) learns about Questar's drilling rig from Ron Hogan, General
Manager of Questar's Pinedale Division.
Breakfast on Friday morning
was at 6:30 am, providing sufficient time for the drive to Pinedale, Wyoming
- "ground zero" when it comes to gas development in the Rocky
Mountain West. On the ride to Pinedale, participant Mitch Leverette of the BLM provided an introduction to the mission of the agency, setting
the stage for the meeting with personnel from the Pinedale office of the
BLM scheduled later in the day.
Similar to the directional
drilling of tight gas sands seen earlier near Silt, Colorado, the participants
had an opportunity to visit a large drilling rig in the Pinedale Anticline
operated by Questar. While Barrett Corporation's wells in Mamm Creek were
typically 7,000-8,000 feet deep, Questar's directional drilling program
involves wells down to 14,500 feet. For both environmental and financial
reasons, the company plans to drill 16 or more wells from a single pad,
with subsurface well spacing of up to 10 acres. Ron Hogan, General
Manager of the Pinedale Division of Questar, explained the company's drilling
program, including its proposal to BLM for year-round drilling - designed
to minimize environmental impacts, shorten the total drilling time (from
18 to 9 years), help stabilize the local economy, and improve operational
efficiency. Questar enabled the EMFI participants to get onto one of its
operating drilling rigs and went in considerable detail at the site regarding
the drilling equipment, the hydrofracturing process and materials, and
the environmental efforts being made.
Upon returning to Pinedale,
lunch was served in the library, followed by a presentation by Bill
Lanning and Roger Bankert of the Pinedale office of the Bureau
of Land Management. They candidly discussed the role of BLM in balancing
the desires and demands of the various stakeholders regarding energy
development in the Pinedale Anticline and the Jonah Field near Pinedale.
The socioeconomics of the area, existing land use, concerns of local residents,
split-estate issues, environmental concerns regarding wildlife, and the
various proposals submitted by the industry were all introduced and addressed
in the question and answer session.
Departing Pinedale at 2:00
pm, the bus headed north to Grand Teton National Park. Enroute, participant Colin Campbell from the National Park Service provided some background
on the geography and socioeconomics of Jackson Hole, noting that Jackson
currently has the second most expensive housing market in the U.S. Lodging
on Friday evening was in the Jackson Lake Lodge cottages and dinner was
a barbeque by the pool. Joining us at the barbeque was Jim Bellamy,
Deputy Superintendent of GTNP. Participants were then free to enjoy the
scenery and shop at the Jackson Lake Lodge for those last-minute souvenirs
and gifts for the family.
Saturday began with a breakfast meeting, in which the Park Superintendent, Mary
Gibson Scott, provided a concise overview of the Park, including its history,
status, and plans for the future. A bus tour of the Park was then conducted
by Sue Consolo-Murphy, Chief of Science and Resource Management at GTNP.
Getting off the bus at several sites, the participants were able to view the
spectacular scenery and learn much about the Park, its natural resources, and
its potential role as a "control" in environmental studies related
to energy development in the area.
EMFI participants at Jenny
Lake in Grand Teton National Park.
For lunch, the bus stopped at a
picnic area where the EMFI Director, Gary Baughman, moderated a WrapUp Session,
in which the participants were encouraged to reflect on the week's activities,
offer their ideas for improvements and ways to keep the Institute topical for
future attendees, and identify mechanisms by which financial support for the
Institute can be enhanced.
The bus then headed to Jackson Hole
Airport (GTNP is the only National Park with an airport within its boundaries
- a fact that remains a contentious issue) where participants either boarded
planes back to their homes or picked up rental cars to tour the area more extensively.
The bus then headed back to Golden via Rock Springs with the EMFI staff and
several participants who had originated in Denver and Rock Springs.
Settling in for the long bus ride
back to Golden, with expected stops in Rock Springs to drop off the EMFI "chase
car" at the rental agency, and a stop in Rawlins, Wyoming to change drivers,
it appeared that the excitement of the trip was over. But it was not to be --
in Pinedale, the bus broke down due to a broken fitting on the fuel filter!
Fortunately, the event occurred near an ice cream and burger stand, and a diesel
mechanic was located to repair the bus. With a delay of only about two hours,
the bus was on its way again to Golden, arriving back in Golden about midnight
- bringing to an end another successful and rewarding EMFI Government Field
Group photo in front of
the Raven A-1 Discovery Well in the Rangely Oil Field operated by Chevron.