Phillips Petroleum is gearing up for record production in 2002.
"It'll be the biggest drilling year ever for Phillips Petroleum in Carbon and Emery counties," announced Billy Stacy, Phillips manager from Denver, at a meeting in Price last Tuesday before 30 government and gas officials.
Phillips, the company that purchased River Gas Corporation early last year, plans to drill more than 100 new wells in Carbon and Emery counties in 2002.
Stacy, who heads up the Drunkards Wash project, recapped the company's activity for the year at the meeting. The manager told the group in attendance that 85 new wells were drilled, bringing Phillips' total to 432 wells. The company sells almost 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day and most of it goes to the Wasatch Front.
Of the 103 wells proposed for next year, 45 are planned in Emery County. The rest are planned for Carbon. Most of the drilling is near the mountains as the rich gas veins runs in the areas with heavier coal deposits.
The average well is 3,340 feet deep, according to Phillips.
Increased production means expanding job opportunities, explained Stacy.
The manager from Colorado reported that Phillips has 48 employees and has budgeted for seven new positions in 2002. The employees, for the most part, maintain the wells, while the majority of new construction is contracted out.
Between April and October, Phillips contracted 378 employees to build the company's 85 wells. Of the workers, 270 were from Carbon or Emery counties, and another 73 were from Utah, but outside the area. Only 35 people were hired from out-of-state.
"We do everything we can to hire local people - that is our goal," explained development supervisor Ken Manzanares. He pointed out that, sometimes, the company can't find local people with the specific expertise necessary.
Phillips is having a large impact on the local economy, stated Stacy. He estimated that the company has spent $15,132,258 for local services.
"This is for everything from motels to vehicle maintenance," said the manager.
Property taxes paid by Phillips are also significant, adding another $3,637,557 in revenue to Carbon County and $319,453 to Emery County. The figure does not include mineral royalties.
Drilling is expected to continue at a high level through 2003 with another 80 to 100 wells expected, indicated Stacy.
After 2003, the manager expects drilling to slow down, but Phillips will have to maintain the flow of the existing wells. The number will exceed 600 wells, if all the drilling activity is completed as planned.