July 14, 2003


            The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission met on July 14th at 10:00 a.m. in Suite 801, The Chancery Building, 1120 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado, for a hearing.


            Those present were:


                        Peter Mueller                         Chair

                        Steven Sonnenberg              Outgoing Chair

                        Michael Klish                         Commissioner

                        Tom Reagan                          Commissioner

                        Carol Harmon                        Assistant Attorney General

                        Richard Griebling                  Director

Brian Macke                          Deputy Director

                        Patricia Beaver                     Hearings Manager


            The Commission unanimously approved the minutes from the June 3, 2003 hearing.


            Director’s Report:  Director Griebling provided a written report and discussed the following: Director Griebling commended Deputy Director Brian Macke for the great job he did at the Northwest Oil & Gas Forum.  The Energy Expo, organized by EnCana Energy Resources, will be held on July 30, 2003 in Garfield County.  There will be posters set up by operators, local governments and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”) at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.  The Williams Production RMT Corporation increased density application for federal lands has been docketed for August.  There are no protests on the application at this time.  The Raton Basin presentation by Anthony Gorody will be later in today’s hearing.  A Durango Herald article attached to the Staff Report indicated that oil and gas production provides 61% of property taxes in La Plata County.  Oil and Gas Industry Stormwater Discharge Construction Permitting by CDPHE will affect Colorado oil and gas operators.  COGCC staff member Linda Pavelka is the new permitting supervisor.  Julie Branting has been hired on a contract basis to help out with permits until the permitting technician position can be filled.  One variance was granted for Energy Search.


Assistant Attorney General’s Report:  AAG Harmon provided a Litigation Memo to the Commission.  The first two claims in the Delta County case have been dismissed but the 3rd claim for relief is still at issue.  Oral arguments in the Rule 303.a. case will be held on August 5, 2003.


Commissioner Comments:  Commission Mueller thanked COGCC Hearings Manager Tricia Beaver and AAG Harmon for their help in the Leyden prehearing conferences.  Commissioner Reagan thanked Deputy Director Macke for all of his outreach efforts involving extensive travel.  Commissioner Mueller was unanimously elected the new Chair of the Commission and Commissioner Cree was unanimously elected to continue as Vice Chair of the Commission.


Genevieve Young, petroleum geologist at the Colorado Geological Survey (“CGS”), presented a decision item for Commissioner consideration regarding a review of United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) resource assessment for oil and gas plays within Colorado.  The Commissioners voted unanimously to endorse the project and to submit a letter to DNR Executive Director Greg Walcher showing their support. Commissioner Sonnenberg thinks it is important for the CGS to perform this study because methods in performing similar studies have been criticized over the years and the COGCC should most definitely support the project.


Update on the DNR Efficiency Study - Shane Henry, DNR Assistant Director, described the high priority of the Governor and Executive Director Greg Walcher to save money and become more efficient.  The Core Mission Project will bring many groups together to assess how DNR can run more efficiently.  It is an open process for input from all employees.  The Steering Committee will review group reports and ideas will be implemented in September.  Mark Crockett, a principle with Alta Ventures, gave an overview of the intent and the process of the project.  His group would appreciate input from the Commission and may need input from the Commission on certain issues in August.  Mr. Henry also mentioned that a search for a new office building is ongoing to accommodate all DNR divisions.  Approximately 150,000 square feet is needed to hold all of DNR’s staff.


Audience Comments:  Ken Wonstolen – COGA- the Annual Natural Gas Conference will be held on August 4-6, 2003.  The COGCC Outstanding Operator awards will be presented at the August 5, 2003 COGA lunch.  The presentations at the conference this year will be organized by basins.  Ozone violations have been reported recently and may have some impact on Wattenberg Field production.  A model will be used to determine the amount of emissions from the Wattenberg Field that could be responsible for the ozone increases.  CDPHE has promulgated a decision tree on oil and gas that is available on the APCD website.  WQCC has approved and upheld its decision to allow a two year implementation delay for stormwater permitting.  COGA would like to see COGCC and DNR support a study on the economic contribution of the oil and gas industry to the state’s economy.  Chair Mueller mentioned asked COGA to consider litigation costs in its study.  COGA would like an endorsement from the Commission on their proposal at the August hearing.


Cause Nos. 232 and 499, Docket No. 0307-SP-04, request for an order to amend the drilling and spacing units in Section 32, Township 5 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M. by establishing 80-acre drilling and spacing units in the W½ SE¼, SW½, NE¼ and NW¼ for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the “J” Sand and Dakota Formations and establishing 40-acre drilling and spacing units in the E½ SE¼ for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the “J” Sand, Codell, Niobrara, and Dakota Formations was continued to August.


Raton Basin Study Presentation – Loren Avis, COGCC Environmental Protection Specialist and Anthony Gorody, Consultant - The main objective of the project was to collect baseline data (USGS papers, data from operators, residents, etc.) and gather new data.  It was funded by severance tax at a total cost of $234,000.  An executive summary will be published in the Oil and Gas Journal that will point readers to the COGCC website for the raw data.  Sixty-seven seeps were detected; most in an area around the Purgatoire River.  Chair Mueller and Commissioner Klish would like COGCC staff to present conclusions on the website.


The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.






Patricia C. Beaver, Secretary



Peter Mueller, Chair