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Oil And Gas

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Oil and Gas Regulation Review

In April 2019, Senate Bill 181 was adopted in Colorado, which provided local governments explicit authority to regulate the location and siting of oil and gas facilities and other environmental components of oil and gas development, including water quality and air quality.  The City of Fort Collins is currently exploring oil and gas regulations and collecting public feedback. Please contact Kelly Smith (a3NtaXRoQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==) or Cassie Archuleta (Y2FyY2h1bGV0YUBmY2dvdi5jb20=) for more information.

Oil and gas development in Fort Collins is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Information related to activity within the Fort Collins Growth Management Area (GMA) is tracked here, but also available in more detail on the COGCC website.

Oil and Gas Operations In the City of Fort Collins

Currently, Prospect Energy is the only oil and gas operator within Fort Collins city limits. The Prospect Energy wells are located in northeast Fort Collins, in an oil field that was discovered in 1924. The wells predominantly produce oil, which requires water injection to artificially bring the oil to the surface (i.e., "dead oil"). The product in associated flow lines has been characterized as containing approximately 97% water, 3% oil, and very little gas, as opposed to production wells in Weld County which primarily produce gas.

A map of wells and well status is available from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) website. Operations in Fort Collins are also summarized in a January 2018 Council memo.


On May 2, 2017, the COGCC issued a Notice to Operators statewide requiring that all existing flowlines and pipelines located within 1,000 feet of a building unit or residence be inspected by the operator by May 31. This requirement applied to all flowlines within Fort Collins city limits and the City's Growth Management Area (GMA). These inspections were required by the COGCC and not conducted by the City of Fort Collins.

Spills and Releases

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.

List of Spills and Release in Fort Collins GMA

Existing Oil and Gas Policy

In August 2018, the City updated regulations related to new development near existing oil and gas operations. The following Land Use Code changes were adopted:

  1. Increase the buffer between new development and existing oil and gas operations from 350 feet to 500 feet. This applies to both active and permanently abandoned wells.
  2. Increase the buffer between “High Occupancy Uses” and existing oil and gas operations from 350 feet to 1,000 feet. High Occupancy Uses include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities and daycare centers.
  3. Allow a decision-maker to consider a reduced setback around plugged and abandoned wells if additional investigation, soil sampling and groundwater testing are completed and accepted by the City. The minimum setback that could be obtained would be 150 feet from the plugged well.
  4. Require an additional method of notification to future property owners about the presence of nearby oil and gas operations.

For more information, please contact Kelly Smith at 970-224-6189 or a3NtaXRoQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==.

Fort Collins Colorado Supreme Court Decision

The City Attorney’s office on May 6, 2016 issued a brief explanation of the impact of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decisions issued Monday rejecting Fort Collins’ five-year moratorium and Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing.

The City has no further obligation under the moratorium in light of the Court’s action, meaning no City Council or other action is required. The City Attorney’s office is working with City staff to evaluate possible next steps for City action regarding oil and gas operations.

“There remains some room for the City to regulate oil and gas operations in the City, and we are reviewing the options for those regulations,” said City Attorney Carrie Daggett.

Key aspects of the Supreme Court’s decisions include:

  • The Court held that City’s moratorium and Longmont’s ban are both preempted by the state’s laws regulating oil and gas operations, and upheld the District Courts’ previous invalidation of the moratorium and ban. 
  • The Court rejected, however, COGA’s argument that the moratorium and ban were “impliedly preempted” by state law. 
  • The Court instead ruled that the moratorium and ban are preempted by state law because they are in “operational conflict” with state law. 
  • This leaves open the future possibility for the home rule municipalities to regulate other aspects of oil and gas operations. 
  • The Court criticized the moratorium’s five-year duration as being too long and viewed it as changing, rather than preserving, the status quo, citing the widespread use of fracking techniques in oil and gas operations throughout Colorado. 
  • The Court also observed that moratoria can be appropriate land-use tools if used as “interim measures that are, by their very nature, of limited duration and are designed to maintain the status quo pending study and governmental decision making.”

2017 Air Quality Technical Session

The City's Air Quality Advisory Board and Natural Resources Advisory Board, and County's Environmental and Science Advisory Board, hosted an air quality technical session on November 15, 2017. Discussed were an air quality monitoring assessment conducted using data collected during the 2014 Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPE), and new oil and gas health information and response resources available from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Watch the session on FCTV

2017 Well Workover Emission Rate Characterization

Report summarizing air emissions based on data collected by Colorado State University during a well workover that occurred in the Fort Collins oil and gas field in April and May of 2017.