BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD RULES TO GOVERN OPERATIONS IN THE WATTENBERG FIELD, WELD COUNTY, COLORADO
CAUSE NO. 407
ORDER NO. 407-523
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission heard this matter on December 12, 2011, at the Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O Street, Greeley, Colorado 80631 upon application for an order to pool all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 80-acre wellbore spacing unit established for Section 22, Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M., for the production of oil, gas, and related hydrocarbons from the Cretaceous Formations.
The Commission finds as follows:
1. RBF Minerals, LLC (“RBF” 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 December 19, 1983, the Commission issued Order No. 407-1 (amended March 29, 2000), which among other things, established 80-acre drilling and spacing units for the production of oil and/or gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Codell Formation underlying certain Lands with the unit to be designated by the operator drilling the first well in the quarter section. The permitted well shall be located in the center of either 40-acre tract within the unit with a tolerance of 200 feet in any direction. The operator shall have the option to drill an additional well on the undrilled 40-acre tract in each 80-acre drilling and spacing unit. Section 22, Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M. is subject to this Order for the Codell Formation.
5. On February 19, 1992, the Commission issued Order No. 407-87 (amended August 20, 1993), which among other things, established 80-acre drilling and spacing units for the production of oil and/or gas from the Codell and Niobrara Formations underlying certain lands, with the permitted well locations in accordance with the provisions of Order No. 407-1. Section 22, Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M. is subject to this Order for the Codell and Niobrara Formations.
6. On April 27, 1998, the Commission adopted Rule 318A., which, among other things, allowed certain drilling locations to be utilized to drill or twin a well, deepen a well or recomplete a well and to commingle any or all of the Cretaceous Age Formations from the base of the Dakota Formation to the surface. Pursuant to Rule 318A.j., Rule 318A. supersedes all prior Commission drilling and spacing orders affecting well location and density requirements of Greater Wattenberg Area wells. Rule 318A.d. provides that an operator may allocate production to any drilling and spacing unit with respect to a particular Cretaceous Age Formation consistent with the provisions of Rule 318A. Section 22, Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M. is subject to Rule 318A., for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Codell and Niobrara Formation.
7. On October 13, 2011, RBF, by its attorneys, filed with the Commission a verified application (“Application”) for an order to pool all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 80-acre wellbore spacing unit established for the below-described lands (“Application Lands”), for the 392 Ventures 21-22D Well (API No. 05-123-33999) and RBF 11-22D Well (API No. 05-123-32254), for the development and operation of the Cretaceous Age Formations from the base of the Dakota Formation to the surface, effective as of the earlier of the date of the Application, or the date that any of the costs specified in C.R.S. § 34-60-116(7)(b)(II) were first incurred for the drilling of the Well, and to subject any nonconsenting interests to the cost recovery provisions thereof:
Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M.
Section 22: N½ NW¼
8. On November 23, 2011, a Protest to the Application was filed by Pinecrest Associates (“Pinecrest”). The Protest averred that the Offer to Lease provided to Pinecrest contained terms that were less favorable than those currently prevailing in the area, in addition to several preferential provisions that it found objectionable.
9. On December 2, 2011, a Prehearing Conference was held to determine the status of the pending Protest. By e-mail dated December 2, 2011, the Protest of Pinecrest Associates, through their attorneys, was withdrawn. It was agreed that the Application would be heard as an uncontested matter. Rule 511 testimony and exhibits were proffered by RBF, and accepted by the Hearings Officer, Peter Gowen.
10. On December 2, 2011, RBF, by its attorneys, filed with the Commission a written request to approve the Application based on the merits of the verified Application and the supporting exhibits. Sworn written testimony and exhibits were submitted in support of the Application.
11. Land Testimony and exhibits submitted in support of the Application by Rich Bartels, Land Manager for RBF, showed: 1) there are two nonconsenting mineral owners who are also unleased mineral owners in the Application Lands; 2) Authorities for Expenditure ("AFE") were sent to the nonconsenting interest owners along with an offer to participate in the drilling of the existing and planned wells; and 3) oil and gas leases were sent to the unleased mineral owners along with an offer to lease their respective parcels within the Application Lands.
12. Testimony of RBF's contract operator, Philip Johnson, Engineering Manager for Peterson Energy Operating, Inc. and Peterson Energy Management, Inc., concluded that the terms of the AFE were fair. Testimony of Mr. Bartels showed that the lease offers contained terms no less favorable than those currently prevailing in the area at the time the application was made, given that the offers were consistent with or better than offers to lessors in the Application Lands who had agreed to lease. Testimony of Mr. Bartels showed the offers to participate and lease were received at least 30 days prior to the December 12, 2011 hearing date.
13. The above-referenced testimony and exhibits show that granting the Application will allow more efficient reservoir drainage, will prevent waste, will assure a greater ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons, and will not violate correlative rights.
14. RBF agreed to be bound by oral order of the Commission.
15. Based on the facts stated in the verified Application, having resolved all protests, and based on the Hearing Officer review of the Application under Rule 511., the Commission should enter an order to pool all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 80-acre wellbore spacing unit established for Section 22, Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M., for the production of oil, gas, and related hydrocarbons from the Cretaceous Formations.
NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that:
1. Pursuant to the provisions of §34-60-116, C.R.S., as amended, of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act, all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 80-acre wellbore spacing unit established for the below-described lands, are hereby pooled, for the development and operation of the Cretaceous Formations, effective as of the earlier of the date of the Application, or the date that the costs specified in C.R.S. §34-60-116(7)(b)(II) are first incurred for the drilling of the well:
Township 6 North, Range 67 West, 6th P.M.
Section 22: N½ NW¼
2. The production obtained from the wellbore spacing unit shall be allocated to each owner in the unit on the basis of the proportion that the number of acres in such tract bears to the total number of mineral acres within the wellbore spacing unit; each owner of an interest in the wellbore spacing unit shall be entitled to receive its share of the production of the Well located on the wellbore spacing unit applicable to its interest in the wellbore spacing unit.
3. The nonconsenting leased (working interest) owners must reimburse the consenting working interest owners for their share of the costs and risks of drilling and operating the Well (including penalties as provided by §34-60-116(7)(b), C.R.S.) out of production from the wellbore spacing unit representing the cost-bearing interests of the nonconsenting working interest owners as provided by §34-60-116(7)(a), C.R.S.
4. Any unleased owners are hereby deemed to have elected not to participate and shall therefore be deemed to be nonconsenting as to the Well and be subject to the penalties as provided for by §34-60-116 (7), C.R.S.
5. Each nonconsenting unleased owner within the wellbore spacing unit shall be treated as the owner of the landowner's royalty to the extent of 12.5% of its record title interest, whatever that interest may be, until such time as the consenting owners recover, only out of each nonconsenting owner's proportionate 87.5% share of production, the costs specified in §34-60-116(7)(b), C.R.S. as amended. After recovery of such costs, each unleased nonconsenting mineral owner shall then own its proportionate 8/8ths share of the Well, surface facilities and production, and then be liable for its proportionate share of further costs incurred in connection with the Well as if it had originally agreed to the drilling.
6. The operator of the Well drilled on the above-described wellbore spacing unit shall furnish the nonconsenting owners with a monthly statement of all costs incurred, together with the quantity of oil and gas produced, and the amount of proceeds realized from the sale of production during the preceding month.
7. Nothing in this order is intended to conflict with §34-60-116, C.R.S., as amended. Any conflict that may arise shall be resolved in favor of the statute.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the wellbore spacing unit described above, shall be considered a drilling and spacing unit established by the Commission for purposes of Rule 530.a.
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 16th day of December, 2011, as of December 12, 2011.
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
December 16, 2011