Approved applications for permits-to-drill (APD) in Colorado are up 4% from the same time a year ago and are on pace to break all previous records, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) said in a report issued Monday.

As of Aug. 22, the COGCC had approved 3,952 APDs statewide. At this rate, the commission estimated that about 6,160 APDs will be approved in 2007.

“This represents a 4% increase over the previous record high of 5,904 APDs approved in 2006, which was more than double the 2,915 APDs approved in 2004,” the COGCC said.

Of the top seven counties with APDs, more than a third, 1,497 (38%) were for operations in natural gas-rich Garfield County. For the same time in 2006, the COGCC had approved 1,844 APDs in Garfield, or about 31% of the statewide total. Weld County’s APDs totaled 993 (25%), which compares with 1,418 (24%) for the same period of 2006.

Yuma County’s APDs totaled 341, or 9% of the statewide numbers, while Las Animas County’s APDs totaled 249 (6%) of the total. Mesa County captured 5%, or 190 APDs, while Rio Blanco had 184 (5%) and La Plata had 121 (3%). The other APDs were spread across several counties, the COGCC said.

Two-thirds of Colorado’s counties, or 42 of 63, have wells located in them. About 20% have at least 200 wells, and Weld County had the most wells at more than 10,000 last year. Rio Blanco and La Plata counties each have more than 2,000 wells, and Garfield, Weld and La Plata counties led the state in gas production last year.

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