The Niobrara shale formation is an established oil-producing reservoir in the southern Denver-Julesburg Basin in northeast Colorado. With an office located in Watkins, ConocoPhillips employs about 160 people in the state. We hold approximately 100,000 net acres located primarily in Adams and Arapahoe counties.
At ConocoPhillips, we explore for, produce and transport natural resources. We consider sustainable development and environmental performance essential to our mission, and thus recognize that finding and producing enough natural gas and oil to meet the world’s energy needs also raises important questions. We strive to address those questions through open, balanced dialogue.
We engage with stakeholders early in the planning process to listen, learn and understand their values, needs and interests. We pride ourselves on serving as a responsible citizen in the communities where our employees live and work through charitable giving, employee volunteerism, sponsorships and civic leadership.
Over the past decade, America has undergone a major energy revolution, achieving a rapid transition from an era of energy scarcity to an era of energy abundance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas and oil currently meet about two-thirds of America’s energy needs and will continue to play leading roles in our energy mix for many years to come. As of 2015, the industry supported 10.3 million U.S. jobs and represented 7.6 percent of the U.S. economy.
Colorado has been a focus of energy development for more than a century, and hydraulic fracturing has been safely used to access oil and natural gas resources there for decades. Residents enjoy strong employment and revenue gains tied to the natural gas and oil industry. Industry activity here boosts manufacturing, logistics, banking and construction, among dozens of other economic sectors.
ConocoPhillips practices ongoing collaboration with local, state and federal regulatory authorities to continually improve our safety and environmental performance. The type of natural gas and oil development activity being pursued dictates which regulatory authorities have jurisdiction. Development activity on non-federal land is primarily regulated by the state, while activity on federally owned land is primarily managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Forest Service.
Across the United States, each state exercises regulatory authority over oil and gas operations within its borders. Colorado already has some of the nation’s most comprehensive and stringent oil and gas regulations covering every aspect of operations, including site selection, permitting, down-hole activities, hydraulic fracturing and site reclamation.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is the state agency with primary responsibility for establishing standards and enforcing regulations for oil and natural gas exploration and production. COGCC equips its staffs of qualified geologists, hydrologists and petroleum engineers with the resources and infrastructure to facilitate regulation, monitoring and enforcement. The state also has robust, well-researched and well-resourced systems and processes in place for setting rules. Additionally, several other state agencies play key roles in regulating the industry’s in-state activities, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), which regulates air emissions.
ConocoPhillips is committed to reducing emissions from our activities and following all applicable regulations. Since 2000, we have instituted a variety of programs to achieve emissions reductions, including installing new automated flare-monitoring alarms. Over the past five years, such steps have significantly reduced or prevented emissions of methane from our facilities in Colorado. Read more about ConocoPhillips environmental standards.
Water is integral to our operations, and it’s an essential natural resource for communities, ecosystems and economic development. Throughout our operations we strive to wisely manage water resources to the extent possible. For example, when we do source freshwater in Colorado, we target deeper water sources that are not used by local farmers and communities. We explore innovative ways to economically reduce freshwater use or recycle water. In 2014, we invested $3 million to establish the ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE²ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) at Colorado School of Mines. The center focuses on research and education that promote joint sustainability of unconventional energy production and water resources. We conduct baseline groundwater sampling to assure we have no impact on drinking water aquifers.
ConocoPhillips has a longstanding commitment to Colorado. From 2013-2018, the company has given $4.1 million to support 136 organizations in the state. Of this amount, approximately $1.1 million funded local community initiatives to improve education, health, safety and natural resources. The remainder of the donation established the ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE²ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) at Colorado School of Mines.