What are the factors for selection of oil and gas well drill sites?

The Town of Frederick and surrounding area are within the Wattenberg Field, see the map of existing oil and gas wells. This is a large mineral resource area subject to multiple subsurface strata and mineral resources. These include coal, gas, oil, gravel, water, etc. Some of these mineral resources are near the surface of the ground. Others may be several thousand feet below ground. Most of the oil and gas resources are fairly deep within the earth's crust, requiring drilling for extraction.

Extraction of Resources

Various state laws have been enacted to determine the location for any new oil and gas well. These laws allow for the extraction of these resources while preserving the surface owner's ability to utilize the land. One of these laws established the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The COGCC determines the areas that are able to have new wells drilled in a section. A section of land consists of a division or parcel of land fixed by government survey. A section is one square mile or 640 acres.

Selection of Drill Sites

State Law provides for multiple wells within each section of land. Specific well sites are selected after consideration of a number of factors. These include surface topography, subsurface geology, and reservoir characteristics. Site selection uses the most current technology to locate oil and gas resources. Proximity to existing and planned surface uses or resources are also significant factors.

Additional Site Selection Factors

The selection of drill sites is also impacted by the terms of the oil and gas lease covering the tract. This typically includes the right to utilize the surface for exploration, drilling and development operations. 

Surface Use Agreements

COGCC regulations require that good faith negotiations with the surface owner take place. This is an effort to determine an agreed upon well-site location within the drilling window. The ultimate location will be influenced by existing surface uses as well as the needs and preferences of the surface owner. In many cases, the location of drill sites have been previously agreed to by contract under a surface use agreement, which is public record. The same is true for roads, production tanks, and pipeline corridors.
If the property is subject to a surface use agreement, the title document should reflect that contractual obligation.