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Colorado oil and gas regulators are poised to set a dubious record next week when nearly $1 million in fines will be levied against a company for essentially abandoning eight gas wells in Rio Blanco County. But state officials never expect to see a penny from the now-bankrupt operator.
As the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) works to catch up on a backlog of old spill enforcement cases dating back several years, the method by which the state regulatory agency publicizes any fines that are levied against operators has become a topic of conversation for conservation groups tracking the industry.
Two oil and gas companies responsible for major spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and other drilling fluids into Garden Gulch on the Roan Plateau of Colorado’s Western Slope in 2008 have reached settlement agreements with the state for fines totaling $316,350.