The 14-page draft of new regulations says flow lines that are permanently taken out of service must be disconnected, drained and sealed at both ends, and any above-ground portion must be removed.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Since 2014, the state's regulator has handed out an unprecedented $12,693,534 in penalties.
More than 400 of Colorado's oil and gas pipelines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings failed inspections. The location of these pipelines is unknown at this time.
The moves four months after investigators linked an improperly abandoned oil and gas flowline to a home explosion that killed two people and injured one in Firestone.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission chief Matt Lepore said the move follows an April 17 explosion at a home in Firestone.
Colorado's top regulator says as long as the rules are followed, “there’s very little risk, very little potential harm of having empty, abandoned, plugged, capped lines in the subsurface.”
Cities along the Front Range are growing rapidly and the state’s 54,332 oil and gas wells aren't going anywhere.
If a flowline isn’t regularly tested and properly abandoned, it can cause problems.
An April 17 home explosion in Firestone has renewed attention to the friction between expanding urban areas and oil and gas development.
The state's oil and gas regulators are involved in the investigation because there was an active vertical well less than 200 feet from the home.