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An idea for Oklahoma to steal

March 21, 2011
TOPICS: In the news
Weld County, Colo., officials have unanimously approved plans for construction of an energy park that will focus on natural gas development and renewable-energy research.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The park would take advantage of the surrounding Niobrara shale oil and gas boom, which began near Grover in 2009. Oil and gas companies could produce oil on the 635-acre site about five miles east of Interstate 25, while other site tenants could conduct renewable-energy research, house a data center or recycle oil and gas well wastewater, according to the proposal.

The land had been zoned for agricultural use, but Weld County Commissioners on Wednesday rezoned the area for industrial planned-unit development.

If built, the Niobrara Energy Park would sit near the heart of the Niobrara shale drilling activity, a major electric power line, a regional fiber optics transmission line and a massive natural gas hub near Cheyenne, Wyo., which compresses and transfers about 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

"The uniqueness (of the Niobrara Energy Park) is brought about by the infrastructure that already exists in regards to oil and gas lines, and there's a fiber optic main junction," said Weld County Commissioner David Long, whose district includes the Carr area.

He said more than 50 different industrial activities could occur at the energy park, which would easily be accessible to energy-producing areas throughout the region.

The park could also reduce Niobrara shale-tapping energy companies' wear and tear on county roads because their hub would be in northern Weld County, not in the county's cities farther south, he said.

"It could spur other-side industries," Long said. "Who knows what the potential of this could be to grow?"

The park is being developed by Loveland-based Harrison Resource Corp.
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