Oil and Gas Development
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Rulemaking
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has initiated a rulemaking process to implement Recommendations 17 and 20 resulting from the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force. The City of Fort Collins has secured "party status" to actively participate in the rulemaking. The rulemaking will occur November 16 and 17 in Denver (with a potential for an additional day added in December).
The Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force was a 21-member group representing local governments, industry and the environmental community convened in September 2014. The Task Force was a product of a compromise aimed at addressing community conflicts over oil and gas activity in and near residents. Governor Hickenlooper and U.S. Representative Jared Polis agreed to a compromise before the November 2014 elections that took four state ballot initiatives off the ballot and ended the state's lawsuit against the City of Longmont in exchange for the Task Force.
Recommendations 17 and 20 were two of the nine majority recommendations the Task Force sent to the Governor. Recommendation 17 is expected to develop COGCC rules around the siting of large-scale oil and gas facilities in the Urban Mitigation Area (UMA). The UMA is defined in COGCC rules as: (A) At least twenty-two (22) Building Units or one (1) High Occupancy Building Unit (existing or under construction) are located within a 1,000' radius of the proposed Oil and Gas Location; or (B) At least eleven (11) Building Units or one (1) High Occupancy Building Unit (existing or under construction) are located within any semi-circle of the 1,000 radius.
Recommendation 20 seeks to compel oil and gas operators to register with city a Local Government Designee (LGD) and to share a good-faith plan for all the wells operated and planned in a five-year window. The intent is that this document would be integrated into a City's comprehensive planning.
City prehearing statement and redline of the COGCC staff's draft rules ( PDF)
Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) V. CITY OF FORT COLLINS - Current Status from City Attorney's Office
The City of Fort Collins hosted a public forum on Thursday, June 4, 2015 for residents to learn results of three reports regarding oil and gas that were commissioned by the City. The meeting was taped and will be rebroadcast on Cable 14 by Monday, June 8. It will also be posted at www.fcgov.com/oilandgas.
- Watch a video of the meeting.
- PowerPoint presentations from the meeting: Property values report - PP presentation
- Human health report - PP presentation
- Air quality report - PP presentation
- Read the press release about the meeting.
- Read the April 30, 2015 City Council memo summarizing these reports and the Air Quality Sampling report.
Data Availability for Understanding Health Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing
Data Availability for Understanding Impacts on Property Values from Hydraulic Fracturing
Air Quality Sampling
Spills and Releases in the Fort Collins Growth Management Area (GMA)
If you are interested in learning more about oil and gas activity in Larimer County or Fort Collins please use this search guidance to help access the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data.
May 28, 2015
During his early morning site visit, the Production Superintendent noted steam at the location. Upon inspection, he observed production water in an excavation. The excavation was the result of an on-going cleanup for a previous release which occurred May 16. The water had filled the 20 feet x 20 feet x 11 feet (depth) excavation and had overflowed to the southeast side of the location. No production water left location. The wells associated with this flowline were shut in. A vacuum truck recovered produced water. It is estimated that 450 bbls of production water was released and 440 bbls of produced water was recovered. It is estimated that 0.1 bbl of oil was released and 0.1 bbl of oil was recovered. All fluid was hauled to a licensed disposal facility. The source of the release was a failed 3 inch diameter connection on the produced water production line, due to age and corrosion. A temporary brace was installed under the suspended portion of the line.
May 18, 2015
An oil stain was noted on the ground on 5/16/15. The stain was discovered during a routine daily inspection. The leak was determined to be from the 3 inch diameter production flow line, located near the oil production tanks of the Fort Collins tank battery. All wells connected to the flow line were shut in, stopping any active flow in the line. Line locations were made on 5/17/15, and excavation occurred on 5/18/15. Excavation exposed a leak in a 3 inch threaded pipe connection, caused by corrosion. A hydrovac truck evacuated liquids and slurry. 5 bbls was estimated to be spilled. Additional soil is planned to be removed. A section of the flowline will be replaced. The spill was approximately 992 feet from surface water, 302 feet from wetlands, 303 feet from the nearest occupied building, and 600 feet from the nearest water well (DNR plot of water well).
September 2, 2014
A small flowline leak was discovered near the lease road between Douglas Road and wells MSSU 30-6 and MSSU 30-7. The fluid was produced water, and was contained in a depression along the side of the lease road. A vacuum truck has cleaned up the spill. Less than one barrel of fluid was recovered. There was very little infiltration as the soil was saturated due to recent rain. The flowline was isolated and shut in until repaired.
June 10, 2013
A stain on the soil was noted at Tank #849. The cause of the staining was investigated and was a small hole in Tank #849, which was released fluid into the bermed area. Hole in tank #849 was immediately plugged. The on-site berm contained fluid. A vacuum truck was dispatched to remove liquids. Fluid is being transferred into the adjacent tank #848. The tank was strapped to determine released fluid volume. Tank will be replaced and impacted soil was excavated and disposed of at a licensed facility. Water spilled 29 barrels and recovered 25. Oil spilled 0.048 and recovered 1.5.
March 1, 2013
Equipment failure caused a total of 20 bbls of fluid to be released, which was comprised of 19 bbls of water and 1 bbl of oil. A break had occurred in the flowline due to a blockage in the line. This was thought to be caused by a heavy emulsion from our water flood treatment chemicals combined with additional water put on-line from newly converted injection wells. Fluid was recovered using a vacuum truck. Stained soil was removed and disposed of at Waste Management site in Ault, co. No impact to groundwater. Operator installing high/low pressure (Murphy) switches on equipment to prevent future failures.
January 28, 2013
The poly flow line from Community #1 well failed at a junction to the steel trunk line. The line leak occurred on the poly flow line only, and was contained within the Community Tank Battery berm. Shut in connected well (Community #1), isolated line, used a vacuum truck to recover fluids, then excavated impacted soil to visibly clean soil beneath. Soil was analyzed in a laboratory, cleared and used on-site for berms.
July 6, 2012
Flow line rupture at a tie-in point to the main trunkline, within bermed area of the Community battery. Operator isolated line, used a vacuum truck to recover fluids, then excavated impacted soil. Soil pile was disposed of at the Waste Management facility in Ault, CO.
February 21, 2011
2" nipple located between the tank valve and check valve failed resulting in the contents of the tank emptying onto the ground. The tank was being used to production test the well. Closed valve, tested tank. Shut in well. Recovered oil using vacuum truck. Spill consisted of 25 barrels oil, 24 barrels recovered.
New COGCC Complaint Process
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has initiated a new complaint process which will expedite the process of alerting state regulators to issues at oil and gas sites.
The COGCC has created a dedicated complaints webpage that contains the following:
- A newly developed and easy to use tool to file a complaint online.
- Guidance for how to file a complaint. To be considered a formal complaint, all complaints are required to be in a written format.
- Questions and answers related to the complaint process, including what to expect and rights of the complainant.
- Guidance and tools to search for complaints already filed.
This website is active now and is located at the below link or can be accessed by the "Complaints" link on the left hand side of the COGCC’s main webpage:
Fort Collins Field Sold
On October 1, 2013 an affiliate of Memorial Resource Development, Memorial Production Partners LP, acquired Prospect Energy. Prospect Energy had been owned by Black Diamond Minerals, a subsidiary of Memorial Resource Development's since 2009.
This sale included all Prospect Energy's holdings in the Fort Collins Field (NE Fort Collins to Wellington). Black Diamond Minerals (BDM), the previous parent company of Prospect Energy, will retain control the Undeveloped Acreage (UDA).
Memorial Production Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership, is listed on the NASDAQ under the stock symbol MEMP. Memorial Production Partners LP has expressed its intent to maintain or exceed the high operational standard set in the past by Prospect Energy.
Memorial Production Partners' operational hotline: 1-855-497-8354 or email
For more information, visit www.memorialpp.com.
- February 23, 2014 – Air Quality Control Commission adopts new regulations that control air pollution emissions from oil and gas production activities. These new requirements became effective on April 14, 2014. More information and copies of the new regulations can be found here.
- November 5, 2013 – Voters in Fort Collins approved Issue 2A, calling for a 5-year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing and further research to be conducted regarding the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment.
- October 1, 2013 – City Council adopts resolution Resolution 2013-085 Urging the Registered Electors of the City to Vote Against a Proposed Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing and the Storage of its Waste Products Within the City of Fort Collins or under its Jurisdiction at the November 5 Special Election. October 1 item – Resolution 85 (PDF)
- August 20, 2013 – City Council places a citizen initiative seeking to implement a 5-year moratorium on all hydraulic fracturing in Fort Collins onto the November 5 ballot. August 20 - Resolution 33 (PDF)
- August 20, 2013 – City Council adopts reciprocal setback notice requirement to property owners within 1,000ft of existing oil and gas operations. Notice will be included on land plat, a public record.
- July 16, 2013 – City Council declined to extend an existing moratorium on accepting oil and gas permits. The ban on hydraulic fracturing treatments and the storage of hydraulic fracturing chemicals continues. Operators must agree to an Operator Agreement with the City to be excluded from the ban.
- May 29, 2013 – Fort Collins and Prospect Energy executed an Operator Agreement governing the Fort Collins Field and Undeveloped Acreage (UDA) west of Anheuser-Busch. Operator Agreement (PDF)
- March 5, 2013 - City Council adopted a ban on hydraulic fracturing and the storage of hydraulic fracturing chemicals within the City of Fort Collins. City Council also adopted a resolution directing staff to take specific steps in support of the City of Longmont in their lawsuit against the State of Colorado. Read the agenda item.
- December 18, 2012 - City Council approved a 7-month moratorium on new oil and gas permits in Fort Collins and on land owned by the City outside the incorporated limits that will extend from December 28, 2012 until July 31, 2013. Read the agenda item.
May 8 Oil and Gas Meeting
The May 8 informational meeting featured tabletop displays created by City staff and a brief presentation of the status of the Operator Agreement with Prospect Energy and background on the Fort Collins Field and undeveloped acreage (UDA). Displays include air quality, wastewater and water quality, emergency preparedness and an overview of the proposed development review process.
- Oil and Gas Presentation (PDF)
- Water Management Poster (JPG)
- Air Quality Poster (JPG)
- Emergency Management Poster (JPG)
- Oil and Gas Review Process (PDF)
Questions and comments received from attendees at the May 8 Oil and Gas Information Meeting. The questions and answers are reported as a verbatim accounting of the meeting. Staff has added (and noted) editors notes for context or additional information. For more information, please contact Dan Weinheimer at 970-416-2253 or via email at .
These are the responses to all questions received by May 7, 2013. If we have missed your question or you would like additional clarification on a question we’ve responded to, please do not hesitate to contact us. For more information, please contact Dan Weinheimer at 970-416-2253 or via email at
The City of Fort Collins is in the process of reviewing and updating its land use regulations concerning oil and gas exploration and developing options for mitigating impacts upon the community within the City’s Growth Management Area. This is a complex and controversial issue that will require involvement and input from Fort Collins residents, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), oil and gas industry representatives, and interested stakeholders including homeowners, environmental groups, and others.
The City’s goal is to develop strategy and tools that best reflect Fort Collins’ community values. In order to accomplish the best outcome, staff will engage residents through an extensive public engagement process, as well as work with any current operators in the City and with the COGCC. Staff will also utilize resources available through Colorado State University and research other Colorado community efforts to understand lessons they have learned.
Process And Timeline
Fort Collins City Council has adopted a 7-month moratorium on accepting new oil and gas permits ending July 31, 2013.
- City staff is developing land use regulations
- City staff and Prospect Energy are developing an Operator Agreement to allow continued use of the company’s existing wells and well pads.
Oil and Gas Information and Resources
Oil and gas drilling and production is a broad and complex issue. Below are a few resources that may be useful:
- Air emissions requirements for the oil and gas industry are implemented and enforced by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment - Air Pollution Control Division. The regulations and requirements can be found here.
- Oil and gas development in Colorado is regulated primarily by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Visit their website and click on the GENERAL tab located on the left side of the screen to review a list of “Typically asked Questions."
- National Geographic offers an interactive presentation on the hydraulic fracturing process.
- In 2004, the EPA provided a technical study entitled Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs Study on the impacts to drinking water wells from hydraulic fracturing.
- The State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife is working with the oil and gas industry to protect wildlife and mitigate the impacts of oil and gas drilling.
- The United States Geological Society (USGS) has published information regarding the technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Denver Basin Province entitled Gas, Oil, and Water Production from Wattenberg Field in the Denver Basin, Colorado (PDF)
- Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) created an information page because of the public’s interest in and concern about the potential impacts of fracking on public health and the environment, including surface and ground water resources.