Monday, October 24, 2011

Oil companies rushing to buy leases along Colorado's Front Range

By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post
Oct 23 2011

Nikki Stansfield, who lives in a suburban-style Larimer County development, persuaded neighbors to hire a lawyer to deal with a driller. She also hopes to meet with Gov. John Hickenlooper to discuss homeowner protections. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post )
The flier announced a meeting of the Ridge West Homeowners Association to discuss oil and gas drilling — but before it was even held, Nikki Stansfield had an oil-company lease offer in her mailbox.

"My immediate reaction was 'I can't believe this is happening here,' " said Stansfield, a resident of the suburban-style Larimer County development.

Her words are echoed by property owners all along the Front Range — the scene of an oil land rush over the past three years.

Between 2008 and 2011, leasing activity in six Front Range counties — Larimer, Weld, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso — more than doubled, with 8,100 leases filed in the 12 months ending Aug. 30, according to county records.

If Weld County, a traditional oil and gas area, is removed, leasing activity jumped to 2,700 leases in the 12 months ending Aug. 30, from 117 in the same period in 2008-09.

"It's been a land grab, with everyone going out and staking their claims," said David Tameron, a senior oil and gas analyst in Denver with Wells Fargo Securities.

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