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.
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.