Bill Detail: SB23-201

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Title Mineral Resources Property Owners' Rights
Status Senate Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources Postpone Indefinitely (04/20/2023)
Bill Subjects
  • Energy
  • Natural Resources & Environment
House Sponsors M. Weissman (D)
A. Boesenecker (D)
Senate Sponsors S. Jaquez Lewis (D)
House Committee
Senate Committee Agriculture and Natural Resources
Date Introduced 03/20/2023

The Colorado oil and gas conservation commission (commission)
may enter an order combining the ownership interests of 2 or more
owners of mineral interests located on separate tracts (drilling unit) to
authorize the drilling of an oil and gas well on the drilling unit (pooling
order). Under certain circumstances and after notice and a hearing, the
commission may enter a pooling order for a drilling unit, which order
includes an owner of mineral interests that does not consent to the drilling
for oil and gas on the mineral owner's tract (forced pooling order).
The bill changes the commission's process for entering a forced
pooling order by:
  • Requiring an applicant for a forced pooling order to prove
that owners of more than 45% of the mineral interests to be
pooled consent to pooling by submitting to the commission
a third-party expert's title report or title opinion;
  • Requiring the commission to determine if the minerals in
the drilling unit may be extracted without disturbing a
nonconsenting mineral interest owner's mineral rights and,
if so, requiring the commission to include in the forced
pooling order a condition that the nonconsenting mineral
interest owner's mineral rights not be disturbed.
Alternatively, if the commission determines that the
minerals cannot be extracted without disturbing the
nonconsenting mineral interest owner's mineral rights, the
commission is required to make explicit findings of that
  • Requiring that a forced pooling order be issued in a manner
that protects and minimizes adverse impacts on public
health, safety, and welfare; the environment; and wildlife
resources and that protects against adverse environmental
impacts on any air, water, soil, or biological resources
resulting from oil and gas operations;
  • Reducing the amount of production costs that consenting
mineral interest owners in a drilling unit may recover from
a nonconsenting mineral interest owner in the drilling unit;
  • Prohibiting the commission from entering a forced pooling
order that includes an unleased, nonconsenting mineral
owner that is a local government or a school district,
including a charter school or an institute charter school.
Additionally, the bill requires that the commission issue a pooling
order before any minerals that are subject to the pooling order are
extracted or any well is drilled to access the minerals. The bill also
authorizes a nonconsenting owner to audit or cause to be audited certain
records of the oil and gas operator no more frequently than every 3 years
but before any costs are recovered from the drilling unit.

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