Colorado – Operational Oil and Gas Wells

The Pine Ridge fire prompted me to download the latest oil and gas well information from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (think about that name for a sec…).  I filtered it based on the well status codes to include only those wells that could be considered currently in operation. Then I plugged the data into Google Earth Pro.  Good times!  Here’s a series of statewide overviews showing the results.  Click for bigger versions.

Status Code PR = “Producing.”  These wells are currently producing commercial quantities of oil and/or gas into the pipeline network.  The main event.  43,383 wells:

“Producing” wells (43,383) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

More maps and numbers after the break….

Status Code SI = “Shut In.”  The next biggest category, these are wells that have had production temporarily stopped. This is done for maintenance or repairs, or to limit gas supplies to prop up gas prices (natural gas prices are currently very low).  2,060 wells:

“Shut In” wells (2,060) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Status Code IJ  = “Injecting.”  These are wells that inject wastewater into the ground for disposal.  Wastewater can include flowback from fracking operations, produced liquids (brine) that come up with the oil and gas, and drilling fluids. A recent investigative journalism article described some of the problems and uncertainties associated with wastewater injection.  677 wells:

“Injecting” wells (677) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Status Code TA = “Temporarily Abandoned.”  These wells are out of production and are waiting to be permanently plugged and abandoned.  An AP investigative report examined the risks of improperly abandoned wells, and of wells that are allowed by state regulators to linger for years as “temporarily abandoned” without being properly plugged. 552 wells:

“Temporarily Abandoned” wells (552) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Status Code WO = “Waiting On Completion.” Wells that have been drilled, but not yet put into production.  Various completion operations (possibly including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking) have yet to performed.  470 wells:

“Waiting On Completion” wells (470) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Status Code DG = “Drilling.”  Wells that are currently being drilled.  Not yet completed, not yet in production.  Drill crews and other workers are probably on site.  346 wells:

“Drilling” wells (346) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Status Code AC = “Active.”  We have no idea what this means. Anybody know?  We’ll take it at face value though.  249 wells:

“Active” wells (249) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.

Here’s the whole shootin’ match.  All of the wells from the above categories that we deem to be currently operational oil and gas wells in the great state of Colorado.   47,737 wells:

All operational wells (47,737) in Colorado as of June 29, 2012.
5 replies
  1. John Amos says:

    Comment received by email today from William Brown:

    Viewed from another perspective, if an industry-standard 1.5-megawatt (nameplate power) wind turbine were placed on each of the 43,383 producing well pads, and given an estimated capacity factor of 35 percent for wind power generation at each turbine, the wind-powered electrical output would be 200,000,000 (two hundred million) MW-hrs per year. This is roughly four times the yearly electricity demand (about 51,000,000 MW-hrs) for the State of Colorado.

  2. Sunshine says:

    Hi John- this is great. I have been trying to organize the operational wells with spud dates into a file that I can use for analysis. There are a number of files on COGCC's website and when I try to put them all together, I do not get the same numbers that you have here. Did you use the access database files under the "library" tab? I may be limiting my sample be needing a valid spud date. Thanks!

  3. John Amos says:

    Sunshine – if you downloaded the well data from COGCC recently, it won't match the stuff from this 2012 blog post. Lots of drilling has happened since then; many temporarily shutin wells could have been put back into production, or vice versa; marginal wells may have been temporarily or permanently abandoned. What are the biggest differences between your results and mine?

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