Agreements for development and unit operations
(1)An agreement for repressuring or pressure maintenance operations, cycling or recycling operations, including the extraction and separation of liquid hydrocarbons from natural gas in connection therewith, or for carrying on any other methods of unit or cooperative development or operation of a field or pool or a part of either, is authorized and may be performed, and shall not be held or construed to violate any statutes relating to trusts, monopolies, or contracts and combinations in restraint of trade, if the agreement is approved by the commission as being in the public interest for conservation or is reasonably necessary to increase ultimate recovery or to prevent waste of oil or gas. Any such agreement entered into prior to July 1, 1951, for any such purpose is approved.
(2)The commission upon the application of any interested person shall hold a hearing to consider the need for the operation as a unit of one or more pools or parts thereof in a field.
(3)The commission shall make an order providing for the unit operation of a pool or part thereof if it finds that:
(a)Such operation is reasonably necessary to increase the ultimate recovery of oil or gas; and
(b)The value of the estimated additional recovery of oil or gas exceeds the estimated additional cost incident to conducting such operations.
(4)The order shall be upon terms and conditions that are just and reasonable and shall prescribe a plan for unit operations that shall include:
(a)A description of the pool, or parts thereof, to be so operated, termed the unit area, but only so much of a pool as has reasonably been defined and determined by drilling operations to be productive of oil or gas may be included within the unit area;
(b)A statement of the nature of the operations contemplated;
(c)An allocation to the separately owned tracts in the unit area of all the oil and gas that is produced from the unit area and is saved, being the production that is not used in the conduct of operations on the unit area or not unavoidably lost. The allocation shall be in accord with the agreement, if any, of the interested parties. If there is no such agreement, the commission shall determine the relative value, from evidence introduced at the hearing, of the separately owned tracts in the unit area, exclusive of physical equipment, for development of oil and gas by unit operations. The commission shall require the production of or may itself produce such geological, engineering, or other evidence, at the hearing or at any continuance thereof, as may be required to protect the interests of all interested persons. The production allocated to each tract shall be the proportion that the relative value of each tract so determined bears to the relative value of all tracts in the unit area.
(d)A provision for the credits and charges to be made in the adjustment among the owners in the unit area for their respective investments in wells, tanks, pumps, machinery, materials, and equipment contributed to the unit operations;
(e)A provision providing how the costs of unit operations, including capital investments, shall be determined and charged to the separately owned tracts and how said costs shall be paid, including a provision providing when, how, and by whom the unit production allocated to an owner who does not pay the share of the cost of unit operations charged to such owner, or the interest of such owner, may be sold and the proceeds applied to the payment of such costs;
(f)A provision, if necessary, for carrying or otherwise financing any person who elects to be carried or otherwise financed, allowing a reasonable interest charge for such service payable out of such person’s share of the production;
(g)A provision for the supervision and conduct of the unit operations, in respect to which each person shall have a vote with a value corresponding to the percentage of the costs of unit operations chargeable against the interest of such person;
(h)The time when the unit operations shall commence, and the manner in which, and the circumstances under which, the unit operations shall terminate; and
(i)Such additional provisions that are found to be appropriate for carrying on the unit operations, and for the protection of correlative rights.
(5)No order of the commission providing for unit operations shall become effective unless the plan for unit operations prescribed by the commission has been approved in writing by those persons who, under the commission’s order, will be required to pay at least eighty percent of the costs of the unit operation, and also by the owners of at least eighty percent of the production or proceeds thereof that will be credited to interests which are free of cost, such as royalties, overriding royalties, and production payments, and the commission has made a finding, either in the order providing for unit operations or in a supplemental order, that the plan for unit operations has been so approved. If the plan for unit operations has not been so approved at the time the order providing for unit operations is made, the commission shall upon application and notice hold such supplemental hearings as may be required to determine if and when the plan for unit operations has been so approved. If the persons owning the required percentage of interest in the unit area do not approve the plan for unit operations within a period of six months from the date on which the order providing for unit operations is made, such order shall be ineffective and shall be revoked by the commission unless for good cause shown the commission extends said time.
(6)An order providing for unit operations may be amended by an order made by the commission in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as an original order providing for unit operations; but if such an amendment affects only the rights and interests of the owners, the approval of the amendment by the owners of royalty, overriding royalty, production payment, and other such interests which are free of costs shall not be required. No such order of amendment shall change the percentage for the allocation of oil and gas as established for any separately owned tract by the original order, except with the consent of all persons owning oil and gas rights in such tract, or change the percentage for the allocation of cost as established for any separately owned tract by the original order, except with the consent of all owners in such tract.
(7)The commission, by an order, may provide for the unit operation of a pool, or parts thereof, that embraces a unit area established by a previous order of the commission. Such order, in providing for the allocation of unit production, shall first treat the unit area previously established as a single tract, and the portion of the unit production so allocated thereto shall then be allocated among the separately owned tracts included in such previously established unit area in the same proportions as those specified in the previous order.
(8)An order may provide for unit operations on less than the whole of a pool where the unit area is of such size and shape as may be reasonably required for that purpose, and the conduct thereof will have no adverse effect upon other portions of the pool.
(9)All operations, including, but not limited to, the commencement, drilling, or operation of a well upon any portion of the unit area shall be deemed for all purposes the conduct of such operations upon each separately owned tract in the unit area by the several owners thereof. The portion of the unit production allocated to a separately owned tract in a unit area shall, when produced, be deemed, for all purposes, to have been actually produced from such tract by a well drilled thereon. Operations conducted pursuant to an order of the commission providing for unit operations shall constitute a fulfillment of all the express or implied obligations of each lease or contract covering lands in the unit area to the extent that compliance with such obligations cannot be had because of the order of the commission.
(10)The portion of the unit production allocated to any tract, and the proceeds from the sale thereof, shall be the property and income of the several persons to whom, or to whose credit, the same are allocated or payable under the order providing for unit operations.
(11)No division order or other contract relating to the sale or purchase of production from a separately owned tract shall be terminated by the order providing for unit operations, but shall remain in force and apply to oil and gas allocated to such tract until terminated in accordance with the provisions thereof.
(12)Except to the extent that the parties affected so agree, no order providing for unit operations shall be construed to result in a transfer of all or any part of the title of any person to the oil and gas rights in any tract in the unit area. All property, whether real or personal, that may be acquired in the conduct of unit operations under this article, shall be acquired for the account of the owners within the unit area, and shall be the property of such owners in the proportion that the expenses of unit operations are charged.
Section 34-60-118 — Agreements for development and unit operations,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-34.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).