City responds to oil and gas lease letters

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — City Attorney Margaret Brubaker told council how the city is responding to resident concerns over a letter from an independent land man that has been sent to many residents living in the City of Brighton. 

The land man works for Mid-Continent Energy and is sending the letters on behalf Extraction Oil and Gas. The letters ask residents to enter into a lease with Extraction Oil and Gas for mineral rights to their property. 

“I think first and foremost it’s important that we remember that this is a private negotiation between the company and the landowner and really there’s nothing specific that the city is involved in, in that regard,” Brubaker said. 

Brubaker  explained to council that this letter “is standard procedure” and that many oil and gas companies will hire a land man, who is under contract with the company, to send out a letter offering or suggesting  landowners enter into a lease. She said the letter will usually indicate the company believe the landowner owns mineral rights on certain designated property and they attach a lease setting out their proposal and giving landowners a deadline to respond by. 

Brubaker said, unfortunately, some of the land men who write these letters have not done their due diligence to see if there is a mineral interest on their property. She said one of the first things residents needs to do is find out if they have retained the oil and gas mineral interest on their property. She said residents should seek legal advice from someone who knows more about the subject and suggested the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission website, which has a list of attorneys that specialize in that area. 

Brubaker said the city wants to facilitate questions from its residents as much as possible but that they don’t want to give legal advice. To facilitate the questions Brubaker, the Community Development Department and the City Managers Office have come up with this script to help when answering resident’s questions:

“The city is aware that certain residents in the city has received letters from an independent land man working for an oil and gas company in regard to entering into an oil and gas lease.

The city of Brighton has not approved any permits for drilling in the city and does not believe that the State of Colorado has approved any permits for this operator in Brighton in the last 12 months. 

Entering into an oil and gas lease is a private property matter. Residents are encouraged to seek legal advice with regards to these letters. And you can find a list of legal service providers specializing in oil and gas matters from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s website.”

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s website is cogcc.state.co.us.