BLM Approves Oak Mesa Oil and Gas Unit Agreement

The Bureau of Land Management today approved a Unit Agreement that will support the orderly and efficient development of natural gas leases in the Oak Mesa area of Delta County.The Oak Mesa Unit was proposed by natural gas leaseholders on approximately 25,000 acres of private and federal minerals located between the Uncompahgre National Forest boundary on the north, East Roatcap Creek on the east, the south rim of Oak Mesa and Dry Creek on the west.This administrative action provides for the exploration and development of an area by a single operator, so that drilling and production in the unit may proceed in the most timely, orderly, efficient, and economical manner. The new unit includes federal leases held by three separate leaseholders. Approximately 23,000 acres within the unit are federal minerals and 2,000 acres are private minerals. The approval of the unit agreement does not authorize surface disturbance or drilling activities on federal lands. Those activities must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to NEPA and BLM approval.The federal mineral rights in the unit are all existing leases and are held by Gunnison Energy Corporation, Retamco Operating Inc., and Richard A. Peterson."Approval of this unit does not authorize gas development in the area," said Jerry Strahan, BLM Colorado's Deputy State Director for Energy, Lands and Minerals. "These leaseholders already have the right to apply for permits to develop the area for natural gas resources. The unit agreement merely eliminates internal lease boundaries within the unit area and requires a schedule for development, allowing for more orderly and efficient development of the oil and gas resources. Unit boundaries are based on the geology of the area."According to the unit agreement, the operator must drill a test well within the unit within six months of the approval of the unit.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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Bureau of Land Management


Colorado State Office


Steven Hall
Jim Sample