Energy Corporation of America (ECA) has allowed the company’s permit for the Holman Morse 1-H well in the Dean area of Stillwater County to expire, according to the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC). For those familiar with the area, the well is across Nye Road from Montana Jack’s, which has also expired.
The well was originally permitted on October 31, 2013, just after ECA CEO John Mork announced his plans to horizontally fracture 50 wells along the Beartooth Front and bring “a little bit of the Bakken” to the Beartooths. The six-month permit was renewed on May 1 and again on October 30 of last year.
However, the permit was not renewed before it expired on April 30. Any further oil and gas activity on the site will now require a new permit.
According to the BOGC web site, a letter was sent to BOGC field inspector Jerry Fraser on July 27. I spoke to Mr. Fraser, and he said he will inspect the well to make sure there is “no surface disturbance.”
ECA also abandoned the Hunt’s Creek 1-H well in Belfry, sending a letter to the Carbon County Commissioners last December announcing the decision.
The well history from the BOGC database is pictured below. You can find it yourself by searching on the site.
What it means for the Beartooth Front
While this is certainly welcome news in the short term, it shouldn’t change our resolve to put in place meaningful local regulation of oil and gas. ECA’s abandonment of wells in Carbon and Stillwater counties is a reflection of the current price of oil, not a lack of resolve by oil companies to extract everything they can from the Beartooth Front.
As prices increase and fracking technology improves, they will be back.
It is important for citizens working on zoning efforts in this area to feel urgency to complete their work.
Related: Previous post on this well.
It means they either didn’t find shale that’s equivalent to the Bakken unit – OR whatever they did find isn’t economically viable given the current price climate for oil. My guess is that they found nothing – otherwise they would have at least drilled a few more wells to see how much further out they could drill, thus assessing the potential to produce oil when the price eventually goes up and therefore justifies the expense of fracking (the wells should be pretty cheap to drill, given that they are not all that deep).