First Permit Approved in Weld County Under New Regulatory Framework
Denver—Bayswater is pleased to announce last week the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) approved Bayswater’s Blehm 18-I Oil and Gas Development Plan (OGDP). The Blehm 18-I Development is planned for 24 horizontal wells near Severance, Colorado. This notable approval from the COGCC represents the first OGDP permit approved in the Denver-Julesberg (DJ) Basin under the COGCC’s new regulatory framework.
“The approval of the Blehm 18-I Oil and Gas Development Plan is a remarkable milestone for the entire Bayswater team, our community partners, regulators, and stakeholders,” said Steve Struna, Bayswater President and CEO. “As a small operator focused in the DJ Basin, Bayswater is pleased to be granted the first OGDP here under the new rules. This approval underscores the commitment Bayswater has to the Basin and to the greater community to continue to be a responsible operator and developer of our critically-needed domestic energy resources.”
The COGCC’s new rules provide alternative paths that Operators can pursue to gain approval to site an oil and gas location closer than 2,000 feet from residential building units (RBU’s). Bayswater’s Blehm 18-I Oil and Gas Development Plan was approved under rule 604(b)4, which allows the Commission to find “that the proposed Oil and Gas Location and conditions of approval will provide substantially equivalent protections for public health, safety, welfare, the environment, wildlife resources, including Disproportionally Impacted Communities,” (COGCC Rules 600 Series Rule, effective January 15, 2021).
Under 604(b)4 the Commission bases its findings on a number of factors including the COGCC Director’s Recommendation; the Operator’s use of Best Management Practices (BMP’s); Local Weld County governmental approval; and, the Operator’s engagement with local residences and businesses.
Weld County approved the Blehm 18-I pad at a 1041 Weld County Oil and Gas Location Assessment (WOGLA) hearing in January 2021, and the necessary COGCC Director’s Recommendation was provided in September. With those key pieces in hand, Bayswater was able to demonstrate through the planned use of extensive BMPs that substantially equivalent protections are in place for this permit under the 604(b)4 rule, allowing the COGCC to unanimously approve the permit. Bayswater’s BMPs include continuous air monitoring with Project Canary, the use of quiet fleet frac technology, engineered sound walls, oil pipeline take-away to reduce truck traffic along with several other operational practices aimed at mitigating air, noise, and light impacts.
During the hearing, COGCC Chairman Jeff Robbins stated, “In this operator, I’m finding an operator that’s doing the right thing.” The chairman later went on to state “In my opinion we find that we have established through…above and beyond BMPs, that this is substantially equivalent.”
Commissioner Bill Gonzalez added: “I thought the engagement with stakeholders and with staff, specifically, was pretty exemplary.”
Further, Commissioner Messner agreed with the COGCC staff analysis stating, “I don’t have any reason to disagree with staff’s analysis that there is substantially equivalent protections provided to all RBUs within this particular application within 2,000 feet.”
“There was a steep learning curve on this first OGDP application and COGCC staff worked very collaboratively with our team to get our permit across the finish line. I am hugely appreciative of that and pleased the COGCC finds our BMP’s and proactive outreach and engagement meet the substantially equivalent requirements,” said Struna. “We take great pride in our operations and we care deeply about being a good neighbor in Weld County. This approval is a true testament to our work and commitment to the communities in which we operate, in addition it’s a clear indication that the industry can continue to responsibly develop oil and gas here in Weld County.
With this first permit completed and approved by the COGCC, Bayswater is working to finalize the next slate of permits to allow for continuous drilling and completion operations in Baywater’s core areas in Weld County near Eaton and Severance, Colorado.
Bayswater is a private oil and natural gas exploration and development company employing multiple best-in-class practices focused on emission reductions and committed to responsible energy development and the belief that the development of oil and natural gas resources and the stewardship of a pristine, sustainable environment are not mutually exclusive. To learn more, visit https://bayswater.us.
Steve Struna | President & CEO | 303.893.2503
Mark Truax | Communications | 720.724.0298 | firstname.lastname@example.org