Regulatory Overview

The State of Colorado is a national leader in its commitment to fostering safe and responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas resources. Colorado has implemented precedent setting regulations from baseline groundwater testing and monitoring and pipeline safety to air regulations targeting methane leak detection and repair. This is a summary of significant legislative and regulatory efforts affecting Colorado’s oil and gas industry. Download the Regulatory Overview.

Wellbore Integrity

A foundational element of COGCC regulations are those surrounding wellbore integrity (Series 300). These rules apply to the design and construction parameters for oil and natural gas wells and prevent the pollution of groundwater. They require ongoing monitoring, testing and reporting, and give the COGCC inspection authority throughout the life of a well to ensure that wellbore integrity is maintained. Wells are constructed with multiple layers of steel casing and cement; COGCC rules require the following specifications for each well : In the water-bearing and hydrocarbon zones, the casing is cemented into place, and cement fills the ... Read More »

2011- Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rulemaking

On December 13, 2011, Colorado regulators unanimously passed a Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rule that requires comprehensive public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing treatments. The rule represents a balanced compromise between industry and environmental groups, providing transparency while protecting proprietary information. Starting in April 2012, this rule (205A.) was applied to all hydraulically fractured treatments performed in Colorado[1]. The rules include public disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals using in addition to disclosure of the volume of water used and the concentration of ch ... Read More »

2013 – Baseline Water Quality Sampling Rulemaking

In January 2013, the COGCC approved the most rigorous statewide mandatory groundwater sampling and monitoring rules in the United States.  The purpose of Rule 609, “is to gather baseline water quality data prior to oil and gas development occurring in a particular area, and to gather additional data after drilling and completion operations” (COGCC, 2013).  Rule 609 was a national precedent setting rule and all data collected as part of this program is available to the general public through the COGCC database. Under the rule operators are required to take water samples prior to, and after drilling. The monitoring samples are ... Read More »

2013 – Setback Rulemaking

On February 11, 2013, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) voted to approve new Setback Rules to mitigate perceived effects of drilling near buildings.[1] The rules significantly increased setback distances and imposed advanced best management practices and protective measures to eliminate, minimize, or mitigate perceived impacts for all oil and gas locations within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings. The adopted rules enhanced notice and communication with building owners within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings.  The rules became effective in August 2013 and are viewed among the most protective in the nation. The ... Read More »

2013 – Spills and Releases Rulemaking

In February 2014 the COGCC updated spill reporting requirements and tightened thresholds for reporting spills. Per COGCC rules, a spill is defined as any observable release of exploration and production (E&P) fluids or produced fluids spilled onsite which can include crude oil, condensate, salty water produced from a well, treatment fluids used during hydraulic fracturing, or diesel fuel used to power drilling rig generators.             Rule 906 of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) establishes requirements for spills and releases. Rule 906.a. requires oper ... Read More »