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The Mission Change Whitepaper: A Glimpse Into Future Rulemakings in Colorado

On November 1st, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”) released its Mission Change Whitepaper (click here for the full text).  It provides a broad overview of possible future rulemakings after the passage of Senate Bill 19-181, which changed the mission of the COGCC from “foster[ing] the responsible, balanced development” to “regulat[ing] the development and production” of oil and gas resources. 

While not authoritative, the Whitepaper is intended to facilitate meaningful discussion on new rule development.  Some of the major proposals are as follows:

  • The 300-Series Rules addressing drilling, development, production and abandonment should be revised to provide for a single, comprehensive application covering drilling and spacing units, surface location sites, wells, production facilities and flowlines.  The decision-making power on applications may switch from the Director to the COGCC.  Notice procedures may also be streamlined to provide more parties with pre-application notice.

  • The 500-Series Rules addressing practice and procedure may be modified to provide the opportunity for a hearing to all “affected persons,” being those parties having “a personal justiciable interest related to a legal right, duty, privilege, power, or economic interest affected by an application.”  The revised rule would outline criteria that the COGCC would consider in determining whether a party should be deemed an “affected person.” 

  • The 600-Series Rules addressing safety regulations may establish a process safety management program applicable to all oil and gas operations.  The current rule prohibiting unnecessary or excessive venting or flaring of natural gas, may be moved to the 600-Series and revised to prohibit venting and flaring from a well for more than 60 days from the date of first production.

The stakeholder meeting originally scheduled for November 7th was cancelled.  Instead, feedback is being sought through individual stakeholder meetings and from comments submitted though the Public Comment Portal, found here.

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About this Author

David R. Little, Oil and Gas Law Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
Of Counsel

David R. Little’s practice focuses on developing solutions to complex legal challenges for his diverse clients.  David represents his clients both in and out of the courtroom, having appeared in trial and appellate courts in Colorado, as well as other states, and federal courts.  He is a seasoned litigator representing clients on matters involving tort, oil and gas, regulatory issues, joint operating agreements, commercial contracts, oil and gas leases, mineral title disputes and royalty payments.  A trusted advisor for his clients, David also provides counseling and...

Diana Prulhiere Energy Resources Attorney

Diana Prulhiere focuses her practice in the areas of energy and natural resources (oil and gas) law. Ms. Prulhiere regularly assists clients with mineral title examinations, due diligence projects and energy transactions throughout Colorado and Appalachia.  Ms. Prulhiere is active in a number of industry groups focused on enhancing the careers of young professionals and women in the energy industry.

Key Experience

Managed abstracting and title teams to assist clients with development efforts

Undertook mineral and leasehold title examinations and drafted drilling and division order title opinions to assist clients in acquiring and leasing mineral rights

Performed due diligence, undertook curative work and prepared transactional documents to assist clients in various energy transactions

Work Experience

2010   Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

2009-2010   University of Pittsburgh Environmental Law Clinic

2007-2008   Summer Associate, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC