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DJ Basin Holds Potential, But Push for Wider Setbacks a Concern

The untapped oil and gas potential of the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin is estimated to be worth billions, according to a study by a state industry group.

A recent study commissioned by Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners (CAMRO) estimated untapped Front Range oil and gas is worth more than $200 billion.

The results "confirmed what we have long understood, " said Colorado Oil and Gas Association CEO Dan Haley. "The Wattenberg field, within the larger DJ Basin, is one of the most prolific oil and gas development assets in the country."

CAMRO is gearing up to fight a proposed measure on the Colorado ballot this November that would expand setback requirements for new oil and gas wells from the current 500 feet to 2,500 feet. According to reports, Colorado Rising is said to be the primary backer of Initiative 97 and is seeking to get 98,500 signatures by Aug. 6 to get on the ballot.

According to CAMRO President Neil Ray, the process in Colorado has gotten easier when it is a statutory -- rather than a constitutional -- ballot measure, so it is "very likely to get on the ballot, " even though the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission established what the industry considered "reasonable" setbacks last year.

Analyses indicate that the 2,500-foot setback would effectively ban oil and gas development in Colorado, according to Haley. "A half-mile setback is unnecessary, and nothing more than a political stunt by activists who want to drive our businesses out of the state.”

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