BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF ASPEN OPERATING, LLC FOR A VARIANCE
TO ORDER 1V-368
CAUSE NO. 1
ORDER NO. 1-171
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission heard this matter on January 23, 2012, in Suite 801, The Chancery Building, 1120 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado, upon application for an order seeking a variance from Order No. 1V-368, specifically seeking vacation of the assessed fine of $200,000.
The Commission finds as follows:
1. Aspen Operating, LLC (“Aspen” or “Applicant”), as applicant herein, is an interested party in the subject matter of the above-referenced hearing.
2. Due notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing has been given in all respects as required by law.
3. The Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter embraced in said Notice, and of the parties interested therein, and jurisdiction to promulgate the hereinafter prescribed order pursuant to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
4. On May 16, 2011, the Commission entered Order No 1V-368 (“Order”), an Order Finding Violation against Aspen for twenty rules violations at four different wells, with a total assessed fine of $200,000. Aspen made no appearance in its defense at this hearing.
5. Under Rule 502.b.(1), an operator may seek a variance from a Commission order by application to the Commission. The operator or the applicant requesting the variance shall make a showing that it has made a good faith effort to comply, or is unable to comply with the specific requirements contained in the rules, regulations, or orders, from which it seeks a variance, including, without limitation, securing a waiver or an exception, if any, and that the requested variance will not violate the basic intent of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
6. On October 13, 2011, Aspen filed with the Commission a letter seeking a variance from Order No 1V-368, specifically seeking vacation of the assessed fine of $200,000. Aspen claims that mitigating factors pursuant to Rule 523.d. justify mitigation of the assessed fine and that Aspen has made good faith efforts to comply with Commission rules. This letter has been construed as an application for hearing before the Commission pursuant to Rule 502.b. (1).
7. On January 12, 2012 Aspen filed a revised application providing greater detail regarding its application.
8. On January 17, 2012 staff filed a response to Aspen’s January 12, 2012 submission.
9. On January 23, 2012 the Commission heard this matter. Aspen Managing Members Craig Camozzi and Mike Mayers appeared on behalf of Aspen. COGCC Eastern Colorado Engineering Supervisor, Diana Burn explained the staff position on Aspen’s request.
10. After hearing all the testimony and deliberations, the Commission voted to reduce the fine to Aspen Operating under Order No. 1V-368 to a total of $20,000.
NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that the fine to Aspen Operating under Order No 1V-368, is hereby reduced to a total of $20,000.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, all other provisions Order No 1V-368, remain in place, except that the fine shall be due 30 days after the date of this order, unless other arrangements are approved in writing by the Director.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the provisions contained in the above order shall become effective immediately.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission expressly reserves its right, after notice and hearing, to alter, amend or repeal any and/or all of the above orders.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that under the State Administrative Procedure Act the Commission considers this Order to be final agency action for purposes of judicial review within 30 days after the date this Order is mailed by the Commission.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that an application for reconsideration by the Commission of this Order is not required prior to the filing for judicial review.
ENTERED this 26th day of January, 2012, as of January 23, 2012.
OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
Peter J. Gowen, Acting Secretary
Dated at Suite 801
1120 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado 80203
January 26, 2012