On the Western Slope, oil and gas drilling activity are at their highest level in years.

The area the Grand Valley is where most growth took place. Garfield and Mesa counties ranked second and third in the state with 277 and 113 new wells respectively. That 113 number is the highest number of start-ups since the 225 new wells drilled in 2008. Weild county was #1 with 1,203 new holes punched in 2107.

Western Colorado's Piceance Basin contains one of largest oil shale deposits in the world. It also contains 5 of the top 50 natural gas fields in the U.S. Piceance contains 40 times more natural gas than previously thought. The new estimates suggest the Piceance Basin holds about 66.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That's 1.6 trillion more than the previous 2003 estimate. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a trillion feet of natural gas is enough to heat about 15 million homes for a year.

With those kinds of reserves, it's easy to understand the increase in activity. Except 2018 to be more of the same as the oil and gas industry continues to rebound.

Regardless of your political views on the increased drilling, the new activity should be a boost for the local economy. Hopefully, that will mean more local jobs in 2018.

Credit: The Journal