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Companies, mineral rights owners considering coordinated response to BLM decision

Feb 15, 2016

Looking down on the Thompson Divide.
Credit Marci Krivonen

  Oil and gas companies are deciding how to respond to the BLM’s expected decision about leases on the Thompson Divide. The West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association is working with about eight companies directly affected by a pending BLM decision.

  Association Director David Ludlam says his organization wasn’t surprised when the BLM announced last week that officials are leaning towards cancelling twenty-five oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide, and restricting about a dozen others. More than two dozen leases, where drilling is already up and running, would not see any changes.

“While each company is going to experience varying degrees of damages, we think there could be a way to assess collective damage,” said Ludlam on Monday, “[to] make the process a little bit more efficient in terms of looking at our legal options.”

Ludlam says it’s too early to ballpark how much damages could add up to. His group believes a new natural gas well near the Thompson Divide indicates how valuable the leases are. Any legal action would have to wait until the final BLM decision is issued, which is expected to be this fall.