Brighton homeowner being ‘forced pooled’ by oil and gas company

“Since Betty Bobo bought her Brighton home more than a decade ago, she hasn’t thought twice about the mineral rights she also owns underneath her house near Highway 87 and N. 42nd Ave.

That was until she received a letter in the mail from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) letting her know about a hearing and an oil and gas company that applied for a force pooling order to drill underneath her home.

“This is our property. How can they seize and take something that belongs to you out right?” said Bobo.

Under Colorado’s arcane “forced pooling” statue, if five neighbors on a block own their mineral rights and an oil and gas company wants to lease them to drill underneath their homes; all it takes is for one neighbor to say ‘yes’ and sign a lease, so that drillers can buy up all the mineral rights on the block. Even if most mineral rights owners don’t want to sell.

The COGCC is responsible for approving any force pooling orders.

“They’re just going to bull right over not only us, but everyone else here,” said Bobo.

The original idea behind Colorado’s law was to prevent drilling frenzies and ensure all mineral rights owners are compensated. Critics call the practice a form of corporate eminent domain.

“They think it’s their God-given right to just come in and take anything that they want to take,” explained Bobo.

Petro Operating Company, LLC is the oil and gas company Bobo’s fighting. They want to drill 24 horizontal wells that can extend two miles or more underneath homes. Petro has offered Bobo, through a lease, a $500 signing bonus and 17.5 percent royalty on any potential oil and gas revenue.”
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Kovaleski, Jennifer . Channel 7 News 15 May 2018.