BLOOMFIELD — ConocoPhillips and the city of Bloomfield Monday evening moved closer to approving a contract that would provide the oil and gas corporation water rights for use in emergencies.

Paul R. Brindle, a landman for ConocoPhillips, spoke before the council, about the company's desire to enter into a financial contract for the water. The company's Bloomfield gas plant gets its water from a diversion point along the San Juan River.

"The water we would use would not impact the city's own water rights," Brindle said. "We would solely use water in the event of a dry year for industrial purposes only."

City councilors expressed no reservations about sharing the water.

The draft form of the contract would lock in the agreement for 10 years with five-year renewals after that. Either side could terminate the contract after the first 10 years with appropriate written notice. Without a written notice of intent to terminate from either side renewals would be automatic.

Brindle stressed ConocoPhillips' major stake in the region.

"Many people don't know this, but this area, the San Juan basin, represents 10 percent of our total business," Brindle said. "We own over a million acres in this region."

The council was told that a significant financial benefit would come from supplying ConocoPhillips with the emergency water.

During the agreement, the company would pay the city an annual sum of more than $19,000, representing a purchase price of $48 per acre foot for the reserve water.

Councilors unanimously approved going forward with the contract.

"The contract looks good," City Manager David Fuqua said. "There are some things we need to take a look at, but this contract looks good for the city."

City council members will be able to recommend changes at the next meeting, which is June 24.

Bloomfield City Council meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 915 N First St.



James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.