(Colorado) Department of Natural Resources. Code of Colorado Regulations, Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2 CCR 404-1 § 100, 903

Last updated: 4 July 2022

The Commission’s Rules regulate oil and gas operations to protect and minimize adverse impacts to public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources resulting from oil and gas operations. These rules apply to the operator of any oil and gas location, facility, well, or any seismic, core, or other exploratory holes, whether cased or uncased.

The code prohibits flaring and venting except as specifically allowed in Rule 903 of the code. Rule 903 establishes the following relevant provisions:

a.       Notice to Local Governments and Emergency Responders

  1. Prior Notice. As soon as practicable prior to, but no later than two hours before, any planned flaring of natural gas allowed, operators will provide verbal, written, or electronic notice to the relevant and proximate local governments and to the local emergency response authorities. 
  2. Subsequent Notice. In the event of flaring due to an upset condition, operators will provide verbal, or electronic notice as soon as possible, but no later than 12 hours, to the relevant and proximate local governments and to the local emergency response authorities. 
  3. Relevant and proximate local governments and local emergency response authorities may waive their right to notice.

 b.      Emissions During Drilling Operations

  1. Operators will capture or combust gas downstream of the mud-gas separator using best drilling practices while maintaining safe operating conditions.
  2. If capturing or combusting gas would pose safety risks to onsite personnel, operators may vent and will provide verbal notification to the Director within 12 hours. If venting pursuant to this Rule exceeds 24 hours, the operator will seek the Director’s approval to continue venting. 
  3. Combustors will be located a minimum of 100 feet from the nearest surface hole location and be enclosed.

c.       Emissions During Completion Operations

  1. Operators will adhere to reduced emission completion practices on all newly completed and re-completed oil and gas wells regardless of whether the well is hydraulically fractured unless otherwise specified in this Rule. 
  2. Operators will enclose all flowback vessels. 
  3. Operators may flare gas during completion operations with specific written approval from the competent authority under specific circumstances (Rule 903 C.(3))

 d.      Emissions During Production

  1. After the commencement of production operations at an oil and gas location, venting or flaring of natural gas produced from any completed well is prohibited except under circumstances such as an upset condition (not to exceed 24 cumulative hours of flaring or venting); active and required maintenance and repair activity, a production evaluation or productivity test (upon approval); or other exceptional circumstances (Rule 903 D. (1)).
  2. Operators will measure and report the volume of all gas vented, flared, or used at an oil and gas location by direct measurement or estimation.

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