State drilling permits top nearby states’

Colorado’s 2010 oil and gas well permits exceeded those of several nearby states, according to a year-end report.

Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, says in a memo to the commission that the 5,966 permits issued in the state last year compared to about 5,431 in Wyoming.

Neslin said other approximate 2010 figures included 4,241 permits in Kansas, 1,684 in New Mexico (excluding some permits on federal land), 1,185 in Utah and 329 in Montana.

Colorado’s total was its third-highest ever, and 16 percent higher than its 2009 total. However, Neslin said the number might have grown even more if not for the fact that the commission decided to begin making permits good for two years rather than one. That change applied to permits issued after the state’s new oil and gas rules took effect early in 2009. That is presumed to have reduced the number of refilings for expiring permits last year.

Colorado’s number of actual new well starts last year was 1,907, a 28 percent increase from the previous year, Neslin said, citing data from the industry tracking firm Anderson Reports. That compares to 1,126 in Wyoming, 732 in Utah, 172 for New Mexico’s San Juan Basin (Anderson doesn’t keep data for all of that state) and 129 for Montana.

County breakdowns for well starts weren’t available. For permits last year, Weld County edged out Garfield County as the permits leader, with Rio Blanco and Mesa counties coming in a distant third and fourth place, respectively.



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