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 Department of Public Health and Environment's new Oil and Gas Health Information and Response program now available to citizens online at: http://www.oghir.dphe.state.co.us/. The Oil and Gas Health Information and Response program was created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to respond to public concerns about health related to oil and gas activities. It will also gather up-to-date information about oil and gas activities, with a focus on health, and make it accessible to the public. As information collection progresses, the program can either send mobile air monitoring stations to areas of concern or potentially help contact a health specialist to look further into someone's specific case.
Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) V. CITY OF FORT COLLINS - Current Status from City Attorney's Office
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.
January 17, 2016
A leak of produced water was identified at the Fort Collins production water gun barrel tank. Leak was near the bottom of the tank at a 3" welded tank nipple. After the source of the leak was found, it was clamped shut. The earthen tank berm contained all but approximately 5 bbls of the release. A vacuum truck recovered 120 bbls of the 125 bbls of production water. All production water was contained on location. Soil testing of the area will occur according to COGCC regulations.
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:
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.