Colorado is well-known for its natural resources and history of oil and gas exploration. Like other local governments, Commerce City strives to balance the needs of industry with municipal growth and development. The city's land development code and participation in the state's local government designee program offers a layered approach to protect the interests of the community and the rights of private developers.
In Colorado, oil and gas development is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), a division of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. COGCC manages all below-ground aspects of oil and gas drilling and handles the state permitting process. Permit applications must be submitted to COGCC and approved before any city permits can be issued or any activity occurs on a drilling site.
Learn more about the COGCC regulatory process
The city’s role in regulating oil and gas development involves the surface level activities related to drilling within Commerce City limits. The land development code (LDC) requires any potential well operator to obtain an oil & gas permit and execute an extraction agreement with the city prior to any operations taking place. The LDC also regulates plugging and abandonment of existing well sites in the city.
City oil and gas documents and processes:
- Model Extraction Agreement
- Development Review (Article III)
- Uses and Accessory Structures (Article V)
Renewed industry interest
In spring 2018, interest in oil and gas development in the city began increasing significantly. This recent change has sparked a citywide conversation among residents, city council and staff, and industry representatives.
Updates on oil and gas activity and various subject matter experts are being featured at the regular city council meeting on the third Monday of each month. The August 13 council study session is scheduled to include presentations from both the oil and gas industry and a residents' group.
How to stay informed:
- Scroll down for a list of current permit applications and resources to learn more about oil and gas development.
- Sign up for the weekly City Manager's update, which contains the latest information about oil and gas activity each week.
- Attend city council meetings, especially on the third Monday of each month for regular oil and gas updates (find updated agendas here).
- Watch live or previous council meetings on our video page. Prominent discussions about oil and gas from recent meetings are noted below:
- May 21, 2018 – staff presentation and citizen communication (discussion starts at 0:09:15 on the video)
- June 4, 2018 – citizen communication and council discussion of a proposed a six-month moratorium on new oil and gas activity (discussion starts at 1:13:35 on the video)
City Oil & Gas Permit Applications
The city has not received any applications for oil and gas permits and no applications are currently pending city approval.
Current COGCC Applications (updated June 25, 2018)
Numerous applications are currently pending with the COGCC regarding potential drilling locations in the city. These applications cover different phases of the permitting process.
Map of currently pending applications (updated June 25, 2018)
- Spacing applications are indicated by colored boxes and include a COGCC docket number
- Form 2 and Form 2A applications are marked by green dots with a specific location name
Descriptions of these different application types can be found below, along with information and links about the public comment process for each. To find more information on a specific location or application, we suggest these steps:
- On the PDF map above, find the docket number (spacing application) and/or location name (Form 2 or Form 2A) for the location in question.
- Reference that location on the list of different application types below.
- For spacing applications, use the assigned docket number to find the application on the COGCC Hearing Docket.
- For Form 2 or Form 2A applications, follow the link with the location name to a specific page with information about the site, including a public comment link.
For a more detailed and complete map of all oil and gas activity in the state, including local application sites, visit the COGCC website.
Drilling and Spacing Unit Order Application (aka spacing application)
A spacing application identifies a broad section of land where horizontal drilling could potentially occur and sets a maximum number of wellheads for that section. This application does not allow an operator to start drilling, as further processes are required by the COGCC and by the city.
The above map of currently pending applications identifies spacing applications with large, color-coded boxes accompanied by a nine-digit docket number. More information about specific spacing applications is available on the COGCC Hearings page.
The next scheduled hearings are set for June 11 and 12. Public comment on these applications was due May 25.
COGCC Public Hearing Comment Process
Form 2 (aka Application for Permit to Drill or APD)
This application provides information regarding each individual wellbore and its construction. This information typically includes the surface and bottom hole location, the casing and cementing of each wellbore.
The following Form 2 applications for locations within Commerce City limits are currently under review by the COGCC:
|Blue Jay||2S 66W||3||(4/12)|| Extraction Oil & Gas
|Owl||2S 66W||3||(4/18)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Condor||2S 66W||23||(4/25)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Red Tail||2S 66W||3||(5/14)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Antelope||2S 67W||11||(5/16)||Petro Operating, LLC|
|Falcon||2S 66W||3||(5/21)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Kestral||2S 66W||3||(5/21)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Jacobson||2S 67W||12||(6/20)||Great Western Operating|
"Township, Range and Section are terms used by COGCC to identify land parcels
This application process determines the specific surface location for well pad sites. The city has been notified of the following Form 2A applications submitted to the COGCC for locations in Commerce City:
|Condor Pad||2S 66W||23|| (4/25)
||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Blue Jay Pad||2S 66W||3||(5/27)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Antelope Pad||2S 67W||11||(5/31)||Petro Operating, LLC|
|Falcon Pad||2S 66W||3||(6/09)||Extraction Oil & Gas|
|Colorado State AB 62S66W||2S 66W||16||(7/01)||Petroshare Corporation|
|Jacobson MD Pad||2S 66W||12||(7/04)||Great Western Operating|
|Red Tail Pad||2S 66W||3||7/11||Extraction Oil & Gas|
Locations indicated by green dots on the above PDF map of currently pending well locations
"Township, Range and Section are terms used by COGCC to identify land parcels
Other Recent Activity
June 26 – July 3, 2018
Extraction Oil & Gas is working to plug and seal an existing well south of E. 96th Avenue and west of Tower Road (Well Name: Box Elder Farms 31-21-2, see the location on a map). As part of this process, city regulations require the operator to fully restore the site to its previous state with re-seeding and other reclamation efforts.
The rig structure will be in place for roughly one week to complete this work, which will only take place during daylight hours. Equipment on the site may resemble a drilling rig, but is in place only to plug and seal the well site.
April 18-25, 2018
Extraction Oil & Gas is working to plug and abandon an existing well site south of E. 96th Avenue and west of Tower Road. The rig structure will be in place for three to five days to do this work. The equipment in place may resemble a drilling rig structure, but is being used only to plug and seal the well site.
As part of this process, city regulations require Extraction Oil & Gas to fully restore the site to its previous state once this operation is complete.
Oil & Gas and Your Health (Information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)