Fram Chapter 7 could leave #Colorado taxpayers on the hook to abandon wells #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Oil and gas well sites near the Roan Plateau

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

The filings by Fram Operating and its owner, Fram Americas, both of Colorado Springs, means that the companies go out of business and nonexempt property is liquidated and the proceeds distributed to creditors. Fram Americas is owned by Fram Exploration AS in Norway.

In March 2018, the Bureau of Land Management approved Fram’s Whitewater Unit Master Development Plan, under which it hoped to drill 108 wells from 12 pads 15 miles southeast of Grand Junction. The BLM had estimated the project could result in production of 8.7 million barrels of oil over 20 years.

The project was supported in some quarters due to the jobs, tax revenues and other economic benefits that could result, but opposed by activists groups and others due to concerns about potential air, water, traffic and other impacts.

Fram’s bankruptcy could mean the end of the project unless it can be sold during the liquidation process. Kenneth Buechler, the attorney representing Fram in the bankruptcy proceedings, said bankruptcy law generally provides that contractual rights existing at the time of bankruptcy become property of the bankruptcy estate, and another asset the trustee in the case potentially could sell. But he said he didn’t know if there would be restrictions on any possible sale of the Fram project or items that need to be cured, such as when it comes to the pertinent oil and gas leases.

“This (bankruptcy) isn’t surprising to us at all,” said Emily Hornback, staff director of the Western Colorado Alliance activist group.

She said opponents of the Whitewater project have been raising questions for years about the financial solvency of Fram. She said it’s fortunate Fram’s financial situation came to light before work proceeded on the project, so the public isn’t left holding the bag on cleanup costs.

The project was supported in some quarters due to the jobs, tax revenues and other economic benefits that could result, but opposed by activists groups and others due to concerns about potential air, water, traffic and other impacts.

Fram’s bankruptcy could mean the end of the project unless it can be sold during the liquidation process. Kenneth Buechler, the attorney representing Fram in the bankruptcy proceedings, said bankruptcy law generally provides that contractual rights existing at the time of bankruptcy become property of the bankruptcy estate, and another asset the trustee in the case potentially could sell. But he said he didn’t know if there would be restrictions on any possible sale of the Fram project or items that need to be cured, such as when it comes to the pertinent oil and gas leases.

“This (bankruptcy) isn’t surprising to us at all,” said Emily Hornback, staff director of the Western Colorado Alliance activist group.

She said opponents of the Whitewater project have been raising questions for years about the financial solvency of Fram. She said it’s fortunate Fram’s financial situation came to light before work proceeded on the project, so the public isn’t left holding the bag on cleanup costs.

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