Revenue from oil, natural gas and coal mining operations on federal land in Colorado generated $393 million in revenue in 2022, the Colorado Sun reports.
That total is the most in 14 years.
BROOMFIELD — Colorado Rising, a group that seeks to increase regulations on oil and gas operators, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of mineral rights owners in Broomfield that challenges the constitutionality of provisions of state law that allow for an industry practice called pooling. Pooling — referred to by critics as “forced pooling” and by the oil and gas industry as “statutory pooling” — is a way for oil and gas operators to access underground minerals owned by another party. Those other parties, who receive a royalty on the proceeds for oil or gas pumped from the ground, do not have to consent to the drilling operation. In Colorado the non-consenting mineral rights owners in a pool are paid a smaller royalty than those who consent to participate. Part of the purpose of pooling, which was added to state statutes in the 1930s, is to ensure a small group of mineral rights owners who object to drilling cannot hold up an oil and gas project involving multiple rights holders. Colorado Rising’s suit was filed in United States District Court. “Under the current law, mineral owners’ only choice is to lease their minerals or have their minerals force pooled,” according to a Colorado Rising news release that accompanied the group’s lawsuit. “Thus, many mineral owners report that they signed leases under duress and would have preferred to have the right to decide when or if they monetize their minerals or to leave their minerals in the ground due to health, safety and environmental concerns. Pooling requests by oil and gas operators, which have become more common in recent years due to advancements in horizontal drilling capabilities, are reviewed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. “The practice of forced pooling is in essence a taking of private property for corporate gain by order of the state,” Colorado Rising organizer Anne Lee Foster said in a prepared statement. “Forced pooling is a perfect example of Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws that must be updated in accordance with modern technology, including horizontal fracking and the practice of residential drilling.” Oil and gas industry groups have come out against Colorado Rising’s suit. “Pooling has not only stood on sound legal footing for nearly a century, but it is a critical step in energy development that now requires detailed communication among mineral right owners well before permits are ever filed,” Colorado Oil and Gas Association president Dan Haley said in a statement.
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GREELEY — A Texas oil and gas firm that bought 17,000 acres of agricultural land in eastern Weld County for $29 million last year is planning to build a natural gas compressor station on a 20-acre site within that parcel. Cureton Midstream LLC, a Denver oil and gas transportation and processing infrastructure firm, is planning to build the facility on behalf of the property owner Black Mountain Land Co. LP, an affiliate of Fort Worth-based Black Mountain Oil and Gas LLC. “This facility will compress raw low pressure natural gas so that it can be transported to a downstream facility for further processing. Natural gas will enter and exit the facility via steel pipelines,” according to planning documents filed with Weld County. “The compressor station will also have separation and filtration equipment that will remove water, condensate and other impurities from the natural gas stream.” Equipment on the site, which is proposed to be built in a single phase, “will include combustors, launchers, receivers, pumps, tanks, catchers and separators, a temporary construction trailer and conex storage units,” development application documents show. The station would be unmanned and in operation around the clock. The compressor station application is scheduled next month for review by the Weld County Planning Commission. Cureton estimates the facility, known as When the Black Creek Compressor Station, will take four to six months to complete, public documents show. Representatives for Cureton and Black Mountain did not immediately respond to requests for comment. According to documents submitted to the county, the area where the facility is planned to be built has existing oil and gas operations. The closest residential properties are more than a mile away. “The applicant understands that being a good neighbor is a best practice,” the development application says. “In siting this facility, noise, air quality and lighting were considered.”
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