A Record Number of Spills in Weld County

For the month of January 2024 in Weld County, the ECMC recorded the largest number of oil & gas spills ever; 102 spills altogether. This represents 77.3% of the 132 spills reported for the month across the entire state.

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Permitted vs Spud Wells by County

Now that the “SB24-159 Modifications to Energy & Carbon Management Processes” bill has been introduced in the legislature and is getting some media attention, industry advocates once again say that activists are trying to ban fossil fuel extraction today, right now, no exceptions. In reality, the legislation is meant to slow down and eventually stop the permitting process. Even this will take quite a bit of time.

The Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) makes available a daily data download for the visualizations available on the Daily Activity Dashboard. One of the sheets available in the Excel workbook is Spud Data, showing two interesting statistics for each county in Colorado:

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Spill Analysis by Year

In addition to persistently-poor air quality, the immense amount of oil & gas infrastructure present throughout Colorado poses another risk in the form of spills—of oil, methane, and produced water. While the amount of “spilled” methane gas is more difficult to quantify, the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) has done a better job of capturing the quantities of oil and produced water spilled at oil & gas facilities in Colorado. This data is available to download from the ECMC web site, but is poorly presented as a data table PDF that cannot be machine read into Microsoft Excel or other tools for easy analysis.

Can you spot the “analysis?” The amount of oil and water spilled has been expressed as a percent of the total volume of oil and water produced, respectively. At best, it seems that the volume of oil spilled has declined relative to production, but the number of spills have quadrupled over the reporting period! What’s happening?

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Draco Map

We’ve created a detailed map showing the proposed Draco wellbores and their potential interaction with existing oil & gas infrastructure, not least of all because they’re not yet available on the ECMC GIS Online map. For more information about this drilling proposal, visit our Draco FAQ.

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ECMC Complaints Analysis

As complicated and difficult as it can be to submit a complaint to the ECMC (fka COGCC) about an air quality, noise, or odor issue at an oil and gas facility in Colorado, the number of complaints lodged with any location is a good measure of the negative impact that oil & gas exploration has in our neighborhoods. With data obtained from the ECMC, here’s a data table showing the sites that logged more than 20 complaints of any kind since 2010.

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ECMC Coyote Trails Form 2 Testimony

On Wednesday, January 24th, the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) made the unusual move of hearing an application to drill (APD) at the existing Coyote Trails facility in unincorporated Weld County, just northeast of the Vista Ridge development in Erie.

Below is the testimony given by Erie Protector’s Editor in Chief, Christiaan van Woudenberg.

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Draco FAQ

We’ll be updating this FAQ as we get additional information from the various involved parties. Where possible, links to additional/source material have been provided.

What is fracking?

From the NRDC:

“Modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to enable the extraction of natural gas or oil from shale and other forms of “tight” rock (in other words, impermeable rock formations that lock in oil and gas and make fossil fuel production difficult). Large quantities of water, chemicals, and sand are blasted into these formations at pressures high enough to crack the rock, allowing the once-trapped gas and oil to flow to the surface.”

For more information, visit:
Hydraulic Fracturing 101 at Earthworks.org
Fracking 101 at the NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council)

Where is the Draco pad?

The proposed Draco pad is located northwest of CR 6 and CR 7 at the Crestone Hub. View on Google Maps.

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