Natural Gas & Oil Exploration in Northwest Colorado: Obtaining and Maintaining the Social License to Operate.
The West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association ('WSCOGA') is an affiliated chapter of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. WSCOGA focuses on enhancing natural gas and oil development in the seven counties of Northwest Colorado. In the United States, a critical prerequisite to resource extraction is obtaining and maintaining a social license to operate. Obtaining a 'social license to operate' means resource companies must address complex socioeconomic challenges specific to communities of interest and local/regional stakeholders. The Rocky Mountain region poses a specific opportunity for resource extraction with an associated, specific set of challenges. The purpose of a presentation from WSCOGA at the Rocky Mountain Section meeting is to highlight and explore the aforementioned challenges relative to Northwest Colorado. Natural gas and oil exploration and production projects face socioeconomic challenges nationwide. For example, emerging resource horizons in eastern States pose new social and economic dynamics. These dynamics are being addressed through education, regulation and the court system. And while new shale gas opportunities dominate national headlines, perhaps nowhere in the nation are challenges more complex than in Northwest Colorado. Geologic complexity, topographic difficulties, federal and state lands; and, wildlife and environmental issues converge with unique regional demographics. This convergence results in a complex and ever-shifting regulatory environment. The West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association will provide general remarks that place these complexities into context and contribute to attendees leaving with an understanding of local operational challenges and what steps must be taken to conduct natural resource extraction in the region moving forward.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90156©2012 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Grand Junction, Colorado, 9-12 September 2012