El Paso County, CO, has never had a commercial oil & gas well, but leasing sure indicates that might change in the near future. The rumored target is the Niobrara Shale, but we’re still in the stages of tight lips, so we haven’t heard a definite just yet. Leasing activity continues to pick up, so we’ll likely get an announcement by the end of the year or early next year as to who has exploratory drilling plans.
Don’t expect anything to happen very quickly. The major operators will invest millions in leasing before actually drilling a well. In an area with no oil & gas history, you can expect the operators to slow play drilling and to lease aggressively. Land is much cheaper before oil is being pumped from the rock below.
The crude oil and natural gas boom is here.
Recorded mineral rights leases are arriving at the El Paso County assessor’s office by the barrel full.
The number of leases submitted so far this year is nearly twice that of last year. Leasing activity has jumped from 20 in 2008, to 215 in 2009, then 320 in 2010. This year’s tally: 611, with four months to go, according to County Assessor Mark Lowderman.