BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

 

IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD RULES TO GOVERN OPERATIONS IN THE HEREFORD FIELD,

WELD COUNTY, COLORADO

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CAUSE NO. 421

 

ORDER NO. 421-13

 

 

 

 

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 640-acre drilling and spacing unit established for Section 23, Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M., for the production of oil, gas, and related hydrocarbons of the Niobrara Formation.

 

FINDINGS

 

The Commission finds as follows:

 

1.    EOG Resources, Inc. (“EOG” 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 February 22, 2010, the Commission issued Order No. 421-1, which, among other things, established an approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing unit for Section 23, Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M., and approved of one horizontal well within the unit, for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation.

 

5.    On February 2, 2011, EOG, by its attorneys, filed with the Commission a verified application for an order to pool all nonconsenting interests in Section 23, Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M., for the Critter Creek #19-23H Well (API No. 05-123-31477) (the “Well”).  Subsequent to filing the application and mailing notices thereof to interested parties, Applicant learned of mineral interest owners within the Application Lands to whom notice of the pooling application had not been provided by mail or personal service.

 

6.    On May 16, 2011, the Commission entered Order No. 421-10, which among other things, statutorily pooled certain interests in Section 23, Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M.

 

7.    On October 13, 2011, EOG, by its attorneys, filed with the Commission a verified application (“Application”) for an order to pool all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing unit established for the below-listed lands (“Application Lands”), for the development and operation of the Niobrara Formation, effective as of the date of the Application, or the date that the costs specified in §34-60-116(7)(b)(II), C.R.S., are first incurred for the drilling of the Well, whichever is earlier:

 

                                    Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M.

Section 23:

All

 

EOG has now provided notice to the previously un-noticed owner within the Application Lands.  EOG’s Application is for the development and operation of the Niobrara Formation, and seeks to be 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.  The Application will result in the previously un-noticed owner becoming subject to the terms of Order No. 421-10 in the same manner as those owners already subject to Order No. 421-10.

 

8.    On November 28, 2011, EOG, 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.

 

9.    Testimony and exhibits submitted in support of the Application by Jason McLaren, Land Specialist for EOG, showed that the non-consenting interest owner was notified of the Application and received an Authority for Expenditure (“AFE”) and an offer to participate in the Well.  Further testimony concluded that the AFE sent by the Applicant to the interest owner was a fair and reasonable estimate of the costs of the drilling operation and was received at least 30 days prior to the December 12, 2011 hearing date.

 

10.  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.

 

11.  EOG agreed to be bound by oral order of the Commission. 

 

12.  Based on the facts stated in the verified Application, having received no protests, and based on the Hearing Officer review of the Application under Rule 511., the Commission should enter an order to affirm Order No. 421-10, and order the pooling of all nonconsenting interests in the approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing unit established for Section 23, Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M., for the production of oil, gas, and related hydrocarbons of the Niobrara Formation.

 

ORDER

 

                        NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that:

 

1.    Commission Order No. 421-10 is hereby affirmed, and previously un-noticed owners within the Applications Lands are now subject to the terms of Order No. 421-10 in the same manner as those owners already subject to Order No. 421-10.

 

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED,

 

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 640-acre drilling and spacing unit established for the below-described lands are hereby pooled, for the development and operation of the Niobrara Formation, 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 a horizontal well:

 

Township 11 North, Range 63 West, 6th P.M.

Section 23:

All

 

2.    The production obtained from the drilling and 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 drilling and spacing unit; each owner of an interest in the drilling and spacing unit shall be entitled to receive its share of the production of the Well located on the drilling and spacing unit applicable to its interest in the drilling and 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 drilling and 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 drilling and 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 drilling and 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 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

 

 

                                                                        By____________________________________         

                                                                                    Peter J. Gowen, Acting Secretary

 

Dated at Suite 801

1120 Lincoln Street

Denver, Colorado 80203

December 16, 2011