Development of Roan acreage on hold for now

Some 55,000 acres on and around the Roan Plateau have been granted an additional two-month reprieve from oil and gas development.

Companies that own the federal oil and gas leases on the acreage have committed to extend a voluntary agreement not to conduct any surface-disturbing activities there.

The move was led by Bill Barrett Corp., which recently bought a 90 percent interest in 40,300 acres of the oil and gas leases from Vantage Energy.

Vantage, Williams Production RMT, Antero Resources and OXY USA Inc. have been involved in settlement talks with the federal government and conservation groups over the conservation groups’ lawsuit challenging the government’s leasing of the acreage last August.

The companies previously had agreed to hold off on drilling-related activities until July 1.

The new agreement extends that commitment until Sept. 1, unless a judge rules earlier in the case. Barrett said in a court filing that the other companies also have agreed to the extension.

The lease interest acquired by Barrett includes the right to develop the oil and gas beneath all 34,000 acres on the plateau top, which conservation groups hope to spare from drilling activities. Following the purchase, a Barrett official said the company is eager to settle the lawsuit, and the settlement could include giving up some leases.

“The purpose for this voluntary standstill extension is to afford BBC time to vigorously pursue settlement discussions,” the company said in its court filing.


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