Current law authorizes forced pooling, a process by which any interested person–typically an oil and gas operator–may apply to the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission for an order to pool oil and gas resources located within a particularly identified drilling unit. After giving notice to interested parties and holding a hearing, the commission can adopt an order to force owners of oil and gas resources within the drilling unit who have not consented to the application (nonconsenting owners) to allow an oil and gas operator to produce the oil and gas within the drilling unit notwithstanding the owners' lack of consent.
The bill specifies that:
- The hearing notice must be given at least 90 days before the hearing;
- Before entry of a pooling order, the prospective drilling unit operator must give the affected interest owners a clearly stated, concise, neutral explanation of the laws governing forced pooling; and
- The operators of drilling units shall, before commencing drilling operations, file an electronic report with the commission that states the number of nonconsenting owners and the percentage of acres that have been pooled, and the commission shall post the reports in a searchable database on its website.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)