Crestone Peak Resources’ Comprehensive Drilling Plan Application to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
On Feb. 22, 2017, Crestone Peak Resources Operating LLC filed an application with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), asking approval of a “Comprehensive Drilling Plan,” or CDP, in Boulder County. A CDP is a preliminary step toward oil and gas development that attempts to plan for development throughout a large area. Crestone’s CDP covers 12 square miles (view map) in eastern Boulder County, between Longmont and Erie. Crestone’s CDP application contains few details on its plans; it has said it intends to develop the substance of the plan over the next 6-9 months, with input from local governments, state agencies and affected landowners. The application does call for a maximum of 216 wells divided among a maximum of 18 separate well pads throughout the CDP area.
In addition, Crestone asked the COGCC to put a hold on accepting any applications to drill in the CDP area while the plan is developed. Two other operators, 8 North LLC and Kerr-McGee, opposed the hold request, but on April 30, 2017, all three operators agreed to a nine-month voluntary standstill on filing any permit applications for the CDP area with the COGCC. The final CDP is now expected to be in front of the COGCC in February 2018. County staff is well aware of the significant concerns raised by large-scale drilling in the county and is committed to doing all it can to avoid or mitigate any impacts involved with the CDP.
County staff from all affected departments, including the Land Use Department and County Attorney’s Office, is taking advantage of every chance to gather information on Crestone’s plans, and the plans of other operators and stakeholders, and to provide input. Staff has pushed for further information (see letter from Boulder County to COGCC regarding Process for Rule 216 CDP Determination, July 7, 2017) on how the processes for developing and approving the plan will be conducted and when and how the public can give input and will make all information received available to the public.
Whether or not the CDP is ultimately approved, Crestone and any other operator will be required to go through the new Boulder County regulatory process before beginning any development.
See the COGCC Crestone Peak Comprehensive Drilling Plan webpage for more information, including Description and Timing of Process, CDP Plan Elements, and Map of Proposed CDP Area. The major documents filed in the CDP process can be found at the bottom of this page.
Sept. 11, 2017 update:
On August 9, 2017, the COGCC posted a timeline and outlined a specific process for its analysis of Crestone Peak Resources LLC’s application for a Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP). Information about this state-led process is available on the COGCC website and can be accessed from the County website at www.bouldercounty.org/property-and-land/land-use/planning/oil-gas-development/#1493145291842-4a6b4d46-ccff
Using this information, county staff and members of the public can now anticipate when Crestone will submit more detailed information on its application and when public comment will be accepted. COGCC requires Crestone to hold at least two public meetings that include all surface owners in the CDP area and there will be ongoing opportunities to submit written comment to COGCC as Crestone revises its plan from conceptual to preliminary to final between September and December of 2017.
Where to Direct Questions/Comments
Boulder County staff and commissioners have received numerous questions about the CDP process and how residents and the county can most effectively participate. The county will keep residents informed about any developments it becomes aware of as the CDP moves forward. However, residents should keep in mind that COGCC is responsible for the CDP and it considers the county a stakeholder, not a decision maker. In contrast, the county has full decision-making authority when it applies its Article 12 regulations to a county application.
Because the state-led process does not replace the local regulations, even if COGCC approves a CDP, Crestone will still have to apply for and receive a permit from the county under county regulations. In that permit process, the county commissioners would likely review the same drilling projects contained in the CDP application with COGCC, but the county will apply the rigorous standards and criteria of its own Article 12, not COGCC’s rules and requirements.
Because the county commissioners will be required to act as a regulatory body during the county’s Article 12 process, they cannot take a position on specific proposals within the CDP without compromising their regulatory position.
Moreover, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the commissioners to give any substantive input on specific proposals or well locations without all of the information, consultation, public review, and multi-body consideration required by Article 12. Therefore, during the CDP process, county staff from all relevant departments will be providing information to COGCC as relevant to the CDP application, but it will be unable to engage in the analysis that will take place under Article 12 with all of the associated opportunity for input from experts and the public.
County staff is available to receive thoughts and comments from the public during the CDP process, but Boulder County urges all interested parties to submit comments on Crestone’s proposal directly to COGCC in writing and at all public meetings and proceedings. The County’s website and staff will provide available information for how to participate in the process and available resources for residents to formulate their responses. Thank you for your input and your continued participation in these processes.
- Crestone Notice of Hearing 170500190 (May 1-2, 2017)
- Crestone Comprehensive Drilling Plan application 170500189
- Crestone drilling and spacing unit application 170500190
- Crestone drilling and spacing unit application 170500191
- Crestone drilling and spacing unit application 170500192
- Kerr-McGee’s Protest to Variance Request
- 8 North’s Protest to Variance Request
- Kenosha RPO’s Motion to Intervene
- Boulder County’s Rule 510 Statement, submitted April 21, 2017 in advance of the May 1 COGCC hearing on the standstill issue – Operators 8 North and Kerr-McGee filed substantial protests to Crestone’s request for an interim hold on drilling applications at the COGCC. County staff believe such a hold is to the County’s benefit and therefore filed the following statement for the COGCC’s consideration at its May 1 hearing. Staff also intends to appear and speak at the hearing on the issues raised by the hold request.
- COGCC Statement of Basis, Specific Statutory Authority, and Purpose
- Crestone response to COGCC-requested information, April 10, 2017
- 8 North LLC Pre-Hearing Brief, April 24, 2017
- Kenosha RPO Pre-Hearing Brief, April 24, 2017
- Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP Pre-Hearing Brief, April 24, 2017
- Final Trial Brief, April 24, 2017
- Final Stipulated Facts, April 24, 2017
- COGCC stipulation for Operators’ voluntary standstill agreement; Order 1-199, May 1, 2017
- Letter from Boulder County to COGCC regarding Process for Rule 216 CDP Determination, July 7, 2017
View COGCC rules for hearings. Rules 509 and 510 address objections and testimony at hearings. View COGCC instructions to submit a written statement under Rule 510.