The Niobrara shale play, horizontal drilling and new hydraulic fracturing technology spurs frenzied oil and gas mineral right leasing activity up and down the Front Range and points south

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Here’s a report about leasing activity in the Lower Arkansas River basin from Anthony A. Mestas writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. Click on the thumbnail graphic to the right for the Chieftains’s rendering of 2010 permitting activity from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

The courthouses in Bent, Prowers and Kiowa counties have been inundated the past few months with land firms researching mineral rights and offering leases to landowners for unnamed oil companies, officials in the three Lower Arkansas Valley counties confirmed Wednesday. “There probably are 20 to 25 land men here every single day,” Bent County Clerk and Recorder Patti Nickell said. “They are researching the land so that they can offer leases to the landowners.”

Officials in all three counties said they are unaware of any type of proposed oil drilling operations in the area and do not know which oil companies are behind the research effort…

Nickell said a steady stream of land men began arriving in Bent County in June. “It has increased, increased, increased. These are land people who work for oil companies,” Nickell said…

“We are certainly willing to cooperate with the oil and gas exploration and any permitting that would be necessary in Prowers County. We see that as a resource that would help the county financially as well as employ people and give a stimulus to the local economy,” [Prowers County Commissioner Gene Millbrand] said.

More coverage from Peter Strescino writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Vince Matthews, state geologist and executive director of the state Geological Survey, said while Pueblo County sits on the Niobrara Formation, it is too shallow here. A perfect example of this is at Lake Pueblo, where the formation’s layers are totally exposed. “To be productive, it’s got to be about a mile deep,” he said. “In Pueblo, it’s too close to the surface and even eroded away.”

While Pueblo probably will never be considered a production site, Prijatel agreed there will be considerable economic expansion around the Wattenberg Field exploration. “Wherever something happens, that’s where people go,” he said. “Look at North Dakota. There’s a boom, there’s a need for housing, there’s jobs. Even motel workers will be making $20 an hour because of the demand. “People are spending a lot of money.”

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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