Oil and gas - statutory pooling - nonconsenting owners. Current law authorizes "forced" or "statutory" pooling, a process by which any interested person–typically an oil and gas operator–may apply to the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission (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 require an owner of oil and gas resources within the drilling unit who has not consented to the application (nonconsenting owner) to allow an oil and gas operator to produce the oil and gas within the drilling unit notwithstanding the owner's lack of consent.
The act clarifies that an order entered by the commission establishing a drilling unit may authorize more than one well. The order must specify that a nonconsenting owner is immune from liability for costs arising from spills, releases, damage, or injury resulting from oil and gas operations on the drilling unit.
Current law prohibits entry of a pooling order until the mineral rights owners have been given a reasonable offer to lease their rights. The act specifies that the offer must be given at least 60 days before the hearing on the order and must include a copy of or link to a brochure supplied by the commission that clearly and concisely describes the pooling procedures and the mineral owner's options pursuant to those procedures.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)