A drilling proposal that was seen as one of the first big tests of recent sweeping changes to state oil and gas rules has failed to earn the approval of state regulators.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted 4-1 Thursday against plans by Kerr-McGee to drill 33 oil and gas wells near a neighborhood in Firestone. One well pad would have had 26 wells and a second would have had seven.
The commissioners’ main objection was that 62 homes would be within 2,000 feet of the 26-well site. New oil and gas rules mandated by a 2019 law requires that new wells be at least 2,000 feet from homes and schools unless certain conditions are met.
Kerr-McGee contended that it had complied with the exceptions allowed by providing protections “substantially equivalent” to a 2,000-foot buffer. Four of the commissioners disagreed.
Kerr-McGee, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, Colorado’s largest oil and gas producer, revamped its proposal to reduce the number of homes within the 2,000-foot distance and offer alternative locations after the commission requested the changes in a Feb. 16 hearing.