Oil and Gas
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 Complaints and Concerns
For emergencies, call 9-1-1.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is charged with regulating the development of Colorado's oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare. Complaints related to oil and gas development can be made through the COGCC website.
If you have concerns about the health impacts related to oil and gas operations, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has an Oil and Gas Health Information and Response Line. Health concerns can be submitted through the CDPHE website, or call 303-389-1687.
Complaints or concerns about about the Prospect Energy sites in Northeast Fort Collins can also be communicated directly to the operator contact, Ward Giltmer, at 303-489-8773.
General environmental or health concerns can be communicated to the City of Fort Collins through Access Fort Collins.
Proposed Land Use Code Changes
The City is seeking input on potential changes in regulations related to new residential and commercial development near oil and gas operations. Currently, the City’s Land Use Code requires a buffer of 350 feet between all new land development and both active oil and gas operations and abandoned wells.
Two updates to the Land Use Code are currently under consideration. Click here for a video explaining the proposed changes.
- Increase the setback of new development from existing, active oil and gas wells from 350 feet to 500 feet or the standard state setback for new wells, whichever is greater.
- Reduce setback of new development from plugged and abandoned wells from 350 feet to 100 feet if the wells are plugged to current state standards.
Share your thoughts! Take the online survey now.
The City will also host a series of drop-in times for one-on-one conversations with City staff. All drop-in sessions will be held at 215 N. Mason St., Conference Room 2B (second floor):
- Tuesday, December 19, 1-4 pm
- Tuesday, January 2, 1-4 pm
- Tuesday, January 9, 1-4 pm
- Wednesday, January 10, 3-6pm
- Additional meeting times available upon request
For more information, contact Rebecca Everette, Senior Environmental Planner, at 970-416-2625 or cmV2ZXJldHRlQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==.
NOTE: These proposed code changes do not address requirements related to oil and gas flowlines and pipelines. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is currently updating its rules related to flowline registration, operations, testing and leak detection. More information on the rulemaking process and draft rules is available here: http://cogcc.state.co.us/reg.html#/rules/flowlinerulemaking.
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. 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.
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. 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 applies to all flowlines within Fort Collins city limits and the City's Growth Management Area (GMA). These inspections are required by the COGCC and not conducted by the City of Fort Collins.
The City Attorney’s office on May 6 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.”
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.
October 27, 2016
A release of 140 to 150 bbls of oil was reported at the Fort Collins Tank Battery (in the Growth Management Area but outside the City limits) due to a valve failure. The leak was discovered at approximately 1:15 pm and the clean-up process was reported as ending at 7:30 pm. Local authorities were notified the morning of October 28, and it was determined that there was no immediate threat to the community, and that the release did not impact or threaten any water ways.
April 24, 2016
A release of 3 gallons of crude oil and 7.9 bbls of produced water occurred at the Fort Collins Tank Battery (in the Growth Management Area but outside the City limits) due to a failure in a flow line. The release did not impact or threaten any water ways. A vacuum truck was dispatched to the location and 2 gallons of crude oil and 1.9 bbls of produced water were recovered. The flowline has since been repaired and the effected soil has been tested, treated, and backfilled, returning the site to its previous state.
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.