COGCC: Oil and gas financial impact may be significant but safety not being impacted by COVID-19

Colorado sees an increase in temporary abandoned wells
Posted at 5:50 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 21:00:20-04

DENVER -- The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says drilling operations have decreased over the past couple of months. At then end of 2019, 22 drilling rigs were operating in Colorado, now there's only four.

Monthly production reports could start to show an indication of economic impact due to the novel coronavirus, but the numbers are mixed. Operators report an increase in the number of temporary abandoned wells but there's a decrease in shut-in wells or a well where production has been halted for a period of time.

"Sort of the broad theme is to debunk the myth that somehow or another operations are unsafe during an economic downturn, that’s just not the case," said Jeff Robbins, director of the COGCC.

Robbins said that COGCC staff are able to continue doing their jobs remotely and inspections are still taking place. He said he's confident the agency will be able to ensure that producing wells and shut-in wells are safe.

If an operator goes out of business then the COGCC said it will come up with a plan to address those wells.

"If we see that an operator is no longer acting, then my staff is ready, willing and able to take whatever actions are necessary to ensure safety," said Robbins.

The COGCC released a document Monday morning detailing the current state of the industry and the agency's response. A link can be found here.