Wyoming: A Place for Energy and Persistence

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Discussing topics in the energy sector gives one a certain, well, energy. A charge or *spark* – a bolt of anticipatory excitement and the promise of potential comes from being “in the know.”  I just received such a spark

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) released a new portal this week that will change the way that we analyze state-level energy data in the United States.  To be honest, I am very excited about it, in the only way that a true nerd in the energy sector who writes an energy-focused blog can be. 

It is called the State Energy Portal and can be found here

I was instantly pulled to focus on the Rockies, and one clear conclusion was apparent – states in the Rockies, namely, North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado, produce more energy than they consume.  The Rockies are producers.  Check out the EIA states overview map here.  

Yes, there are obviously other states in the same boat that are producing more energy than they consume (check out Texas, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Alaska, for example).  However, there is not an entire producing region like the Rockies anywhere else in the United States.  States in the Rockies are synonymous with energy production – the Rockies are giants in energy production.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”  That could not be more true for the Rockies, an area of the country built by persistence, grit and tenacity – and also by the energy sector.   

The Cowboy State via the State Energy Portal

The state-by-state analysis in the State Energy Portal is amazingly instructive.  As a native of the Cowboy State, I was first drawn to the analysis on Wyoming, which can be found here

The first sentence of the State Energy Portal analysis on Wyoming says it all:

“Wyoming produces 15 times more energy than it consumes, which makes it the biggest net energy supplier among the states.” 

Folks from Wyoming are taught from a very young age the importance of producing. Work hard, imagine big, create, labor and focus your effort – produce something valuable with your time.  It makes sense that Wyoming is THE giant in energy production. 

What is also important, though, is that the State has a variety of sources to tap for energy production.  According to the State Energy Portal Wyoming analysis, and the internal sources cited within the same:

  • Coal: 7 of the 10 largest U.S. coal mines are located in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
  • Petroleum:  Wyoming is the 6th largest crude oil producer in the U.S.
  • Oil Production: Wyoming’s monthly oil production is on the rise and in August 2018 reached its highest level in more than 25 years. Most of the state’s oil production increase has come from two primary regions in eastern Wyoming: the Niobrara Shale (due north of the Colorado border) and the Powder River Basin (due south of the Montana border).
  • Natural Gas: Wyoming ranks among the top 5 states with the most natural gas reserves.
  • Natural Gas Production: Most of Wyoming’s natural gas has come from fields in the Green River Basin located in the southwest corner of the Cowboy State.  Notably, more than half of the state’s natural gas is produced on leased federal land – recently in 2018, the federal government approved a large natural gas project in the basin, which calls for the drilling of 3,500 wells over 10 years.
  • Uranium:  Wyoming has significant uranium reserves and is home to the largest uranium mining operations in the U.S.
  • Wind:  Wyoming has some of the largest wind reserves in the nation and big wind-generating electricity projects are in the works in the State.
  • Hydroelectric Power:  Many people may not know that Wyoming is home to 21 hydropower dams and hydroelectric power is the 3rd largest source of Wyoming’s power generation.

TAKEAWAY:  Wyoming is an energy production giant.  It provides a variety of sources for energy production, which clearly causes energy-related industries to dominate the Cowboy State.  While Wyoming is my personal place to refuel and recharge, it also is a major energy producer for the nation. 

A Line in the Sand: Weld County & Boulder County

As a resident of Weld County, I can tell you that there are sometimes stark contrasts between Weld and Boulder Counties.  Although neighbors, the two counties have very different views – and I do not mean of the mountains. 

One of the ramifications of S.B. 181 is increased local control, allowing Colorado cities and counties more control over drilling operations through local zoning ordinances and land use regulations.  Hence, a line in the sand is beginning to be drawn between Boulder and Weld Counties…

On May 1, 2019, the Weld County Board of Commissioners (“Weld County Commissioners”) issued a press release entitled, “Local Control Focus of Board Action,” which can be found here.  During the hearing that same day, the Weld County Commissioners reportedly started the process to give the Weld County government control over oil and gas permitting by “formally designat[ing] all of unincorporated Weld County as being under the purview of county government as it relates to mineral resources – particularly oil and gas.”

The press release follows the “Open Letter from the County Commissioners” from April 16, 2019, the same day that S.B. 181 was signed by Governor Polis, expressing Weld County’s understanding of the value of Colorado’s oil and gas industry, which can be found here

The proposed designation is set for public hearing on June 10, 2019, during which time the Weld County Commissioners will act on the same.  Per the press release, public comment and participation is encouraged at the hearing.  

It is clear that lines are being drawn…stay tuned as more develops!

Colorado’s SB 181: Wyoming’s New Economic Stimulus Package?

It is no secret that Wyoming’s economy is heavily reliant on the energy and natural resources sector.  In fact, the primary forces behind the economy of the Cowboy State are mineral extraction, in the form of coal, oil, natural gas and trona, and agriculture. 

Wyoming is an attractive place to do business due to state incentives like no income tax and low sales and property taxes; however, Wyoming may become even more of a hot opportunity state in light of the passage of Senate Bill 181 by its neighbor to the south, Colorado. 

Colorado has recently taken serious steps to increase oil and gas regulation and revamp the make-up of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.  As Governor Jared Polis signed SB 181 into law yesterday, April 16, 2019, many are trying to anticipate the impact that the bill will have on the oil and gas industry in Colorado.  The future of oil and gas is uncertain, due in part to the significant reforms mandated by SB 181.  For a full discussion of the sweeping impacts of the bill, check out our prior post here

I have heard several folks referring to Colorado’s SB 181 as “Wyoming’s Economic Stimulus Package.”  The comment has been said in jest, but it got me thinking…

Will the oil and gas industry shift more of its focus to the Cowboy State in the wake of SB 181?

There are several factors that support the theory that Wyoming will greatly benefit from Colorado passing SB 181, including:

  • Rural Nature of Wyoming – Wyoming is one of the least populated states in the country.  In addition, the population of the state is spread out – meaning the population density is very opposite to that of Colorado.  As a result, the friction that Colorado has faced with the oil and gas industry as its towns and communities have rapidly expanded into producing areas will be practically a non-issue for rural Wyoming.  In fact, the New York Times wrote an article last summer commenting on this issue of the increase of production in Weld County coupled with Colorado’s population boom entitled, “In Colorado, A Fracking Boom and a Population Explosion Collide.”  Wyoming is a much more attractive environment for operations than Colorado, given Wyoming’s lower population.
  • Attitude – Wyoming residents are, in general, supportive of responsible oil and gas development in the state.  Talk in Wyoming is positive and hopeful of the boom to come, and folks are making what preparations they can in the hopes of a boom in the oil and gas sector again – welcoming it with open arms. Wyoming residents recognize the value of the revenue that oil and gas operations bring to the state.   
  • Workers with Grit – Wyoming is known for its quality of worker; Wyoming folks work hard and with grit, as working outdoors in all weather conditions requires.  

Wyoming presents a favorable opportunity for the energy and natural resources sector to grow, but will the oil and gas industry shift its focus to the Cowboy State in the wake of SB 181?

It is likely that Wyoming will benefit from the passage of SB 181 in Colorado, but only time will tell if SB 181 will be Wyoming’s new economic stimulus package…stay tuned!

In the Know: Update on Colorado’s Senate Bill 181

As discussed in our March 13 post, which can be found here, Senate Bill 181, introduced on March 1, proposed significant changes to Colorado’s long-standing oil and gas regulatory system.  After a number of amendments from Senate and House membership, Governor Polis signed S.B. 181 into law on April 16, 2019. 

Here’s an overview of key amendments that brought the bill to its final form:

(1)        More direction and support in implementing local regulation

S.B. 181’s original revamp of local authority under C.R.S. § 26-20-104, which gave localities the power of “regulating oil and gas development” in order to generally “minimize adverse impacts… on public health and the environment” remains mostly intact.  However, S.B. 181 amendments have limited that power to “regulating the surface impacts of oil and gas development,” and have also tailored local impact minimization measures “to the extent necessary and reasonable to protect public health, safety, and welfare and the environment…” 

S.B. 181 now creates C.R.S. § 29-20-104(3), which establishes atechnical review board procedure to provide qualified input on local well siting determinations. This new system will allow a locality or operator to request that COGCC-appointed experts report on the technical and operational suitability of the locality’s preliminary or final well siting decision. 

  • C.R.S. § 29-20-104(3)(b) makes clear that local governments will not be required to reconsider or amend siting decisions based on technical review board reports.
  • More specifics regarding technical review board procedures and membership can be found in the revised C.R.S. § 34-60-104.5(3).

(2)        More direction in enacting new emissions rules

S.B. 181 now includes important additions and refinements to the COGCC’s new mandate to adopt emissions regulations under C.R.S. § 25-7-109. 

COGCC rules to minimize emissions of methane, VOCs and NOx must be adopted under C.R.S. § 25-7-109(10)(a).

C.R.S. § 25-7-109(10)(b) now directs the COGCC to revisit its existing rules and consider stricter requirements with respect to: leak detection and repair; pipeline inspection; emissions from pneumatic tools (e.g. gas-driven pumps and compressors); and continuous methane monitoring “at facilities with large emissions potential, at multi-well facilities, and at facilities in close proximity to occupied dwellings.” 

  • Notably, S.B. 181 no longer requires emissions monitoring installation at every “oil and gas facility”in the state.

(3)        Future restructuring of COGCC

S.B. 181’s original changes to the nine-member COGCC, which de-emphasized oil and gas industry experience among the qualifications of its seven appointed, volunteer commissioners, will be effective until no later than July 1, 2020. By then, the COGCC will be restructured to seven total members, including five appointed commissioners of balanced credentials who will become full-time state employees.

  • At least one member of the restructured COGCC must have substantial experience or formal training in: the oil and gas industry; planning and land use; environmental and wildlife protection or reclamation; and public health.  More specifics regarding the future makeup of the COGCC are set out in the new C.R.S. § 34-60-104.3.  

(4)        Minor Adjustments to Pooling Application Amendments

S.B. 181 originally introduced amendments to C.R.S. § 34-60-116 that would have required a 50% minimum consent threshold on forced pooling applications and a 15% statutory royalty on oil and gas for non-consenting, unleased owners. The final bill instead requires consent to be pooled from parties comprising 45% of the interest of reasonably locatable owners and a statutory pooled royalty of 13% on oil and 16% on gas.     

Up a Bit, Down a Bit: The Pricing Rollercoaster

Watching commodity pricing is a bit like watching a rollercoaster – it goes up one minute, down the next, then up again and down.  Today’s oil prices are no different.  We started the day up a bit, and this afternoon we are down a bit – the rollercoaster continues.  If you were looking for a lazy river-like pace, with its predictable turns and steady current, commodity pricing is not the ride for you.

This morning, Bloomberg Energy reports the following oil prices, which are up a bit from yesterday:

WTI Crude $4.06 per barrel, a +0.75% change

Brent Crude $1.36 per barrel, a +.075% change

A CNBC headline reads, “A ‘forecasting nightmare’: Volatile Oil Prices are Virtually Impossible to Predict, Analysts Say.”  In short, prices are on a rollercoaster and folks are having difficulty predicting where exactly on the ride we sit – are we on the upswing or should we brace for decline?

A number of things have contributed to pricing’s rollercoaster effect, including:

  • Supply and DemandU.S. Inventories are High.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (“EIA”) Monthly Crude and Natural Gas Production report released March 29, 2019, which can be found here, U.S. crude oil production is increasing.  In fact, according to the EIA’s Today in Energy from April 9, 2019 entitled, “U.S. Crude Oil Production Grew 17% in 2018, surpassing the previous record in 1970,” “[a]nnual U.S. crude oil production reached a record level of 10.96 million barrels per day in 2018.”
  • OPEC Production Cuts – Plus Global Issues.  According to CNN Business article entitled, “There’s Trouble in OPEC and Oil Prices are up 50%,” trouble in 3 OPEC nations, namely, Venezuela, Iran and Libya, have contributed to domestic oil price increases.   
  • Restraint and a More Cautious Approach.  According to CNN Business article entitled, “Wall Street Taught Oil Drillers Restraint. That Could Lift Oil Prices,” some of the price volatility could be related to the more cautious approach some companies are taking, with the hopes of keeping higher oil prices sustained.  The article also reports that the sense of restraint in the oil patch could lead to breaking the boom-bust cycle.

There are of course other factors that may come into play, including politics, pipeline constraints, whether OPEC continues supply cuts and global supply and demand impacts.

While it is difficult to predict where the rollercoaster is headed, yesterday’s CNBC article entitled, “Prepare for $80 oil this summer as ‘wounded bulls’ rise, RBC warns,” forecasts that “international oil prices will average $75 a barrel in 2019 and consumers may find themselves contending with bouts of $80 crude this summer, RBC Capital markets said.” One thing is for sure, we are along for the ride!

Adams County Unanimously Approves Temporary Moratorium on New Oil and Gas Permits

Yesterday, Wednesday March 20, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners for Adams County, Colorado (the “Board”) held a special public hearing on whether to impose a temporary ban on local oil and gas permit applications in the wake of Colorado’s Senate Bill 19-181.  Senate Bill 19-181 was passed (with amendment) by the Senate and is currently under consideration by the House.

Following a nearly three hour hearing that included statements given by numerous industry and community stake holders, the Board unanimously adopted a temporary moratorium on new oil and gas permits.  This moratorium, which became effective immediately, lasts for six months and applies to all permits for which applications have not yet been submitted to the Board.  Permit applications already filed with the Board are not affected.

In its resolution, the Board expressed concern with a potential flood of new permit applications and Senate Bill 19-181’s impending changes to local government authority to regulate oil and gas development.  If Senate Bill 19-181 is passed into law this legislative session it is expected to take effect on July 1, 2019. 

Click here for the full text of the Board’s resolution (via the agenda).

For more information on Senate Bill 19-181, check out the prior post on this blog by Jim Tartaglia, titled “In The Know: Primer on Colorado’s Senate Bill 181,” which can be found here.

Crude Oil Prices: What Lies Ahead?

We are constantly trying to predict the future of oil prices – that is just the nature of the beast in this business.  So many things begin, and end, with the price of oil for us.  Luckily, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) is literally in the business of analyzing and predicting the future of oil prices.  Thank goodness, because there are so many factors that go in to predicting commodity pricing, this is not an easy feat!

The EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (commonly known as “STEO”) was released on March 12, 2019 – the full report can be found here

Let’s focus on the EIA’s price forecasts in this most recent STEO:

  • Brent crude spot prices reportedly averaged $64 per barrel in February, which marks a $5 per barrel uptick since January
  • The EIA forecasts that Brent spot prices will average $63 per barrel in 2019 and $62 per barrel in 2020.

These forecasts are great news because they predict price stability, in general, through 2020

Moving on to the Crude Oil Markets Review featured in the STEO, which can be found here, the takeaways are as follows:

  • The STEO reports that the U.S. active oil rig count reached a 10-month low of 834 rigs as of March 8, suggesting the rate of U.S. crude oil production growth could slow
  • Yet, the EIA forecasts U.S. crude oil production will increase by 1.3 million b/d in 2019 and by 0.7 million b/d in 2020.

In addition, the STEO notes the potential for at least two wildcards – OPEC and U.S. production levels, as well as the pace of global oil demand growth.  The STEO forecasts that these factors “present considerable uncertainty to oil market balances and price expectations.”

“Based on the current forecast, however, the EIA expects global inventory builds and rising OPEC spare capacity will limit significant upward oil price pressures in 2019 and in 2020.”

OPEC spare capacity?  Remind me?

OPEC’s primary goal is managing oil supplies to achieve market stability.  In December of 2018, OPEC member countries agreed to production cuts through June of 2019.  According to MarketWatch’s article entitled, OPEC Looks to Cancel April Meeting as Oil-Producer Committee Reports Improved Output-Cut Compliance, as of February, compliance with the production cuts was at almost 90%.  Said another way, most OPEC member countries voluntarily complied with the agreed upon oil production cuts. 

While it is difficult to predict what lies ahead for oil prices, stay tuned – we will have our fingers on the pulse of oil prices.  Many factors influence oil prices and we will keep you apprised of new developments!

The Equality State and Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month.  In 1919, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.  While we are celebrating the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, it gives us a great opportunity to spotlight my home state of Wyoming

Wyoming is not just known as the “Cowboy State” or home to the Salt Creek Oil Field – once the largest producing oil field in the world that boomed and also busted, yet still produces oil today.  Wyoming is also nicknamed, “the Equality State.”

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming – a truly wonderful anniversary, as women were recognized as having the right to vote in Wyoming a good 50 years before women in the rest of the country were guaranteed the same right.   

Why is Wyoming’s nickname “the Equality State?”  Here are the takeaways:

  • It is the home of the women’s vote, as it recognized that women have the right to vote in 1869.
  • It allowed women to serve on juries as early as 1870.
  • The first female governor in the United States was Nellie Tayloe Ross, elected in Wyoming in 1924.

In addition, the women of Wyoming have always been a different sort – full of grit, tenacity and strength.  As part of our spotlight on Wyoming this month, a recent project created by Wyoming native, Lindsay Linton Buk, entitled Women in Wyoming must also be highlighted. 

The project features “portraits and interviews of women who shape the West” and brings attention to the contemporary women in my home state who are remarkable role models.  The project is broken into 3 amazingly inspiring chapters – trust me, it is worth checking out! Give it a listen:

  1. Chapter 1 – Breaking Boundaries – my favorite feature is on Wyoming’s first female Supreme Court Justice, Marilyn Kite
  2. Chapter 2 – Filling the Void – my favorite feature in this chapter focuses on Dr. Diane Noton
  3. Chapter 3 – Power – my favorite feature in this chapter is on Mickey Thoman, “cowgirl, mentor and ranching matriarch of the Thoman Ranch in Sweetwater County, Wyoming” (which is also my home county)

Each Chapter contains 5 separate stories – each with truly breathtaking photographs taken by Lindsay Linton Buk herself, and each story is recounted in the subject’s voice and displayed in podcast format.  You get to actually hear the tales told in the subject’s voice, which is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to listen to true stories told by these amazing Wyoming women. This project is so unique and full of energy – it is an absolutely wonderful and inspiring project created by a Wyoming woman to bring these powerful stories to light – it is a “must see.”  Check it out!

As part of the Rocky Mountain Energy Essentials blog, we typically discuss the energy and natural resources sector of Wyoming; however, Wyoming has been on the forefront in more ways than just the oil and gas and other extracted minerals area.  Its nickname of the Equality State pays homage to that!

In the Know: Primer on Colorado’s Senate Bill 181

On March 1, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and House Speaker KC Becker introduced Senate Bill 181, which proposes significant changes to Colorado’s oil and gas regulatory framework.  This bill has initiated immediate public debate that is sure to continue as it proceeds through the legislature. 

While it may undergo revision during that process, here is a summary of the changes that Senate Bill 181 (as originally proposed) would usher in:

(1)        Redefining the COGCC

  • C.R.S. § 34-60-102 articulates the legislative goals of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the “Act”), which currently declares it “in the public interest” to “foster” oil and gas development “in a manner consistent with protection of” public health and safety, and to promote oil and gas development in a way that avoids “waste” of the state’s natural resources.
    • S.B. 181 would amend that declaration by directing the COGCC to “regulate” oil and gas development “in a manner that protects” public health and safety, and redefining “waste” to establish that non-production of oil and gas does not constitute “waste” that the COGCC must work to minimize.
  • C.R.S. § 34-60-128 currently directs the COGCC to administer the Act “so as to minimize adverse impacts to wildlife resources affected by oil and gas operations,” and in doing so the COGCC must consider the “cost-effectiveness and technical feasibility” of its mitigation-based decisions.
    • S. B. 181 would amend the definition of “minimize adverse impacts” in C.R.S. § 34-60-103(5.5) to remove cost-efficiency and technical feasibility entirely from the COGCC’s necessary considerations in administering the Act.
  • S. B. 181 would also restructure the COGCC’s membership qualifications set out in C.R.S. 34-60-104 by (i) reducing the minimum number of those with industry experience from three to one (and in turn eliminating the mandate that industry member experience include petroleum engineering and geology); and (ii) increasing the membership qualifications that must be achieved with respect to public health and environmental protection.  The COGCC would remain at nine total members.

(2)        Expanding Local Control

  • S.B. 181 would overhaul C.R.S. § 29-20-104 by clarifying the power of local governments to regulate land use and the siting of oil and gas facilities and broadly expanding local authority to protect against potential, adverse impacts of operations, including the authority to conduct regular on-site inspections, monitor emissions and other externalities often associated with well sites, and impose administrative fees and non-compliance penalties.
    • In line with the above, S.B. 181 would end the long-standing exemption for oil and gas facilities from compliance with local noise ordinances [C.R.S. § 30-15-401].
    • Similarly, S.B. 181 would eliminate parts of C.R.S. §§ 24-65.1-202 and -302 that currently empower the COGCC to establish primary jurisdiction over designated “areas of state interest.”
  • S.B. 181 would also reconfigure the COGCC’s procedures under C.R.S. § 29-20-106 to introduce a new condition to the COGCC’s permitting procedure by requiring that, prior to filing any drilling permit application with the COGCC, all permit applicants provide evidence of prior application to and approval by relevant local governments authorizing the proposed drilling site.
  • S.B. 181 would also require under the amended C.R.S. § 29-20-106 that the COGCC establish a new regulatory process to conduct an “alternate location analysis” for new oil and gas facilities that may be proposed “near populated areas.”  

(3)        Increased Facility Monitoring

  • S.B. 181 would create a new legislative mandate that the state’s air quality control commission adopt new regulations that require on-site “continuous emission monitoring equipment” for all oil and gas facilities located in the state.
  • S.B. 181 would create a new legislative mandate that the COGCC establish rules “to ensure proper wellhead integrity” of production wells and revisit its existing rules governing flowlines and shut-in or abandoned wells in light of the commission’s redefined legislative directive. 

(4)        Revising Pooling Applications

In addition to the above general, fundamental changes sought by S.B. 181, the bill also makes notable revisions to Colorado’s compulsory pooling system: 

  • First, a pooling order could no longer be sought by “any interested person,” but instead would require that all pooling order applicants obtain consent to pooling from those owning more than half of the interest to be pooled.
  • Second, any pooling order issued by the COGCC must prohibit the operator from using any surface area owned by a nonconsenting, pooled owner (absent that owner’s written permission for such surface use).
  • Also, S.B. 181 would increase the statutory royalty due to nonconsenting, pooled owners from 12.5% to 15% [C.R.S. § 34-60-116(7)(c)].

(5)        Implementation Concerns

  • S.B. 181 includes the new C.R.S. § 34-60-106(1)(f)(III) that many see as a potentially lengthy moratorium on new drilling permits by allowing the COGCC to delay permit issuances until it “has promulgated every rule required to be adopted by legislation enacted in 2019” that may impact oil and gas development under C.R.S. Article 60, and all such rules have become effective.

As most local readers will know, the sweeping Senate Bill 181 has already become a topic of vibrant public debate in our state.  After clearing its first two Senate committees last week, the bill’s potential and final form should become clear in the near future. 

Please check back for updates on Senate Bill 181!

Guest post author: Jim Tartaglia

What Factors are Influencing Colorado’s Future Role in the U.S. Energy Sector?

It is no secret that Colorado is, and has been in recent years, a hot state in the domestic energy sector. 

One of the reasons that the state has been a hotbed for development is due to the potential that the state has for oil and natural gas production.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) profile on Colorado, which can be found here:

  • Crude oil production has quadrupled in Colorado since 2010
  • Colorado hold about 4% of total domestic crude reserves
  • Colorado is the 5th largest natural gas producing state
  • 11 of the country’s 100 biggest natural gas fields are located in Colorado

Colorado has serious potential for future oil and gas production.

As we discussed in our post, Proposition 112 Was Defeated, But That is Not the End, Colorado recently rejected a measure that could have had significant negative impacts on the members of Colorado communities.  However, as we discussed, Proposition 112 is not the end to the challenges facing the industry…as highlighted below. 

Predicting the future is obviously difficult.  We do not have a crystal ball or some special insight that gives us all of the answers.  Predicting is, just that – estimating things based upon the data and information we know and taking into account the numerous factors that we cannot anticipate and do not know, but that may make a significant impact

That being said, despite these difficulties, many are trying to predict what the future of the energy sector in Colorado will look like.  For example, these are some recent headlines in Colorado:

In addition to potential future regulations, the state has the Wildgrass case looming – Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee v. State of Colorado et al., case number 1:19-cv-00190, currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado was filed January 23, 2019.  What is at issue is the statutory pooling of nonconsenting mineral owners in the form of a challenge to the constitutionality of C.R.S. § 34-60-116, the statutory/involuntary pooling statute. 

We will continue to monitor the Wildgrass case and we will be providing periodic updates as to the same – for an introduction into the case, Oil & Gas 360 posted an article entitled, Colorado: New Lawsuit Targeting Mineral Rights Pooling was Filed by Setback Proponents which also includes a Law 360 article entitled, Mineral Owners Want Forced Drilling on Their Lands Outlawed.

Needless to say, these matters will certainly have an impact on Colorado’s future role in the domestic energy sector, the operations of operators in the state and also the interests of mineral interest owners.