Opinion

Once again, Colorado leads the nation in safeguards for oil and gas development

Author: Chip Rimer - April 18, 2018 - Updated: April 18, 2018

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Chip Rimer

For the past decade, Colorado has led the country when it comes to regulating the oil and gas industry — from air rules and fluid disclosures, to water monitoring and spill reporting requirements. And now, we also have the most comprehensive flowline regulations in the nation.

In response to the tragic events in Firestone one year ago, the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission (COGCC) has been diligently working with stakeholders to update regulations for flowlines. The COGCC unanimously approved dozens of new rules pertaining to flowlines and piping systems. The results will increase transparency and enhance infrastructure mapping and gas leak reporting. These outcomes were the product of six months of stakeholder negotiations that will make Colorado communities safer. Safety is our top priority and working to create the best possible regulations was the right thing to do for our industry and for all Coloradans.

There is now an unprecedented level of regulatory scrutiny over oil and gas flowline infrastructure. The new rules call for increased flowline integrity testing and require oil and gas companies to become Tier 1 participants in the 811 ‘Call-Before-You-Dig’ system. Additionally, the industry is now required to implement mapping procedures for underground flowlines and report that information directly to the state.

Another important outcome directs the COGCC to assemble a stakeholder group to study existing or emerging technologies that could be used to detect leaks from flowlines. Within a year, those stakeholders will report their findings and make recommendations for updates to the regulations.

These new flowline regulations reinforce the fact that when we all work together, we can achieve meaningful outcomes. I am proud to be a leader in an industry that always seeks to find constructive solutions to shared challenges. And, I am proud that we again have contributed to enhancing the nation’s most progressive oil and gas regulations.

Beyond the state’s strong regulatory framework, operators in Colorado also work closely with local governments to try and meet the unique needs of cities and counties across the state. In fact, more than 30 local communities have signed memorandums of understanding with oil and natural gas operators that often exceed rules required by the state.

Our industry values the privilege to live and work in this great state, and we are dedicated to safely and efficiently produce energy for our neighbors, our communities and our nation.

Chip Rimer

Chip Rimer

Chip Rimer is the chairman of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association Board of Directors and the senior vice president of Global Operation Services for Noble Energy.