Leaked report confirms industry inflates claims against 112

October 30, 2018

Colorado, oil and gas drilling

New information shows mineral deposits would remain accessible, challenging industry claims


A recent analysis obtained by Colorado Rising, the group leading efforts to pass Proposition 112, reveals that the oil and gas industry’s claims about the economic impacts of the 2500 foot setback measure are highly exaggerated and misleading. The industry is often cited in TV, radio and print ads saying that 112 is a ban on oil and gas development as part of a more than $40 million campaign opposing the citizen-led initiative to protect the health and safety of Colorado residents.

The report titled Proposition 112 Playbook was compiled by RS Energy Group, a leading independent upstream oil and gas advisory and investment research firm. The report states that the majority of minerals in the Denver-Julesburg Basin will still be accessible using current technology. Additionally, the following key points clearly demonstrate that proposition 112 is unequivocally not a ban on oil & gas production in Colorado:

  • Portions of the Eastern D-J Basin will be unaffected by the proposed setbacks due to lower feature density of vulnerable areas and mineral access via horizontal drilling;
  • 61% of all minerals would remain accessible in the D-J Basin using 10,000 foot horizontal drilling bores;
  • An estimated 43% of the Core Wattenberg Basin will also remain accessible with current technology;
  • The analysis accounts for current limitations in technology and the analysts reduced estimates by 10% accordingly, providing extremely conservative estimates to industry investors. Additionally, operators in Colorado regularly permit for 10-15,000 foot laterals in Colorado.

The report’s analysis is based on current drilling technologies used by the industry, which allow them to access minerals roughly two miles horizontally in all directions. The report also shows that areas of the Eastern Denver-Julesburg Basin will be accessible, parts of which were not included in the COGCC report due to lack of data. This latest report by RS Energy Group is in line with the recent analysis by Professor Peter Maniloff from the CO School of Mines who reported that 42% of minerals would remain accessible using one mile horizontal drill bores.
In response to the report, Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said, “The oil and gas industry is intentionally misleading the public, to make them believe 112 is a ban. They are using this false assertion to support wild exaggerations and fear-mongering to avoid even the most common sense protections for our communities. This analysis shows the industry can and will continue to operate in Colorado, with 2,500 foot setbacks. We have seen these Chicken Little scare tactics from big corporations before. Coloradans deserve the truth on Proposition 112, so we’re setting the record straight.”

Retired Petroleum Engineer, Karen Tonso said,  “Clearly the experts agree: 112 is not a ban. Voters should take note, and look closely at data sources as they evaluate the 2,500 foot setback ballot question. The report shows that economic claims based upon a ban are not applicable to Prop 112. Coloradans are smart people and making false claims like this is misleading to voters.”

Via email RS Energy Group CEO Manuj Nikhanj told 9NEWS:  “RS Energy Group independently created the Proposition 112 Playbook based on our own analysts’ research within the industry and basin. We, at RS Energy Group, pride ourselves on creating independent, unbiased information to our clients based on publicly-sourced research and data. Some additional things to consider that are relevant that our report did not address were the proposed restrictions for flow/gathering lines, competition for surface rights and the complexity with having thousands of existing wells. When considered, the accessible mineral rights would be lower than the 61 percent/43 percent stated above.”

See also —

Report: Colorado’s underground minerals still accessible if Proposition 112 passes
The oil and gas industry has painted Proposition 112 as a de facto ban on new oil and gas development, but is it really dire? A report leaked to 9NEWS allows us to see the facts.


Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

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