|IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD RULES TO GOVERN OPERATIONS IN THE BUCKBOARD FIELD, YUMA COUNTY, COLORADO||Cause No. 331 Order No. 331-5|
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
This Cause came on for hearing before the Commission on June 4, 1999, at 8:30 a.m. in Rifle Town Hall Council Chambers, 202 Railroad Ave., Rifle, Colorado, after giving Notice of Hearing, as required by law on the application of Plains Petroleum Operating Company, for an order to allow the drilling of one additional well in each 160-acre drilling and spacing unit for certain lands located in the Buckboard Field, for production of gas and associated hydro carbons from the Niobrara Formation.
The Commission finds as follows:
1. Plains Petroleum Operating Company ("Plains") 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.
4. On November 21, 1977, the Commission issued Order No. 331-1, which established 640-acre drilling and spacing units for the production of gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation with the permitted well to be located no closer than 990 feet from the unit boundary underlying certain lands in the Buckboard Field. By Order No. 331-2 dated August 22, 1978 and upheld by Order No. 331-3 dated September 9, 1981, the size of the drilling an d spacing units within the spaced area was reduced to 160-acres acres with the permitted well to be located no closer than 900 feet from the unit boundaries for the below-listed lands:
Township 3 North, Range 46 West, 6th P.M. Sections 7 thru 11, 14 thru 23
5. On April 21, 1999, Plains, by its attorney, filed with the Commission a verified application for an order to allow an additional well to be drilled and completed for the production of gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation, on 160-acre drilling and spacing units in Section 16, Township 3 North, Range 46 West, 6th P.M. at the option of the operator. Subsequent wells shall be located no closer than 560 feet from the outer boundarie s of said 160-acre drilling and spacing unit. The Director shall be allowed to grant an exception location without prior notice or hearing upon an adequate showing by the applicant that topography makes it unreasonable to drill the second well within a 560 feet setback, but no closer than 380 feet from the boundary of the drilling and spacing unit, and requests for any other exception location may be granted in accordance with Rule 318.
6. At the time of the administrative hearing, at the request of several operators, Plains withdrew from the application the request to allow the Director to grant exception locations without prior notice for topographic reasons for wells to be located no closer than 380 feet from the boundaries of drilling and spacing units.
7. Testimony and exhibits presented at the administrative hearing indicated the boundaries of the Buckboard Field and the existing Niobrara Formation wells in the area surrounding the application. Additional testimony and exhibits utilized a structure map on the top of the Niobrara Formation to show that the Beecher Island zone is a chalk formation located in the top of the Niobrara Formation. Further, the Beecher Island zone of the Niobrara Formation is continuous across the application area and is a common source of supply.
8. Testimony and exhibits presented at the administrative hearing indicated that the average acres drained in the area of the application are thirty-nine (39) acres per well. The average acres drained in Section 16 specifically are thirty-five (35) acres per well. In order to prevent waste and protect correlative rights additional wells should be allowed within the established drilling units to ensure efficient and economic incremental gas recovery fro m the Niobrara Formation in the application lands. Further testimony indicated that production from an additional well in the spacing unit would result in an economic well.
9. On May 20, 1999, a Local Public Forum on the application was held in Wray to consider potential issues related to the environment, public health, safety and welfare. No additional conditions were recommended to be placed on the application and a Public Issues Hearing on the application was not recommended.
10. At the time of the administrative hearing, Plains agreed to be bound by oral order of the Commission.
11. Based on the facts stated in the verified application, having received no protests and having been heard by the Hearing Officer who recommends approval, the Commission should enter an order allowing one additional well to be drilled on each 160-acre drilling and spacing unit in Section 16, Township 3 North, Range 46 West, 6th P.M. at the option of the operator for the production of gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issue an order to allow an additional well to be drilled and completed for the production of gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation, on 160-acre drilling and spacing units in Section 16, Township 3 North, Range 46 West, 6th P.M. at the option of the operator. Subsequent wells shall be located no closer than 560 feet from the outer boundaries of said 160-acre drilling and spacing unit.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the provisions contained in the above order shall become effective forthwith.
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.
ENTERED this day of June, 1999 as of June 4, 1999.
OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
By Patricia C. Beaver, Secretary
Dated at Suite 801 1120 Lincoln Street Denver, Colorado 80203 June 11, 1999 2 (331-5)