Douglas County suburb hears oil opportunities knocking, but should it answer?

By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

The suburban Denver home listing of the not-too-distant future may read something like this: Spacious four-bedroom on 3 acres, gourmet kitchen, pool, comes with oil and gas royalties.

Agents for at least three oil companies have been knocking on the doors of suburban homes in Douglas County seeking to buy the oil and gas rights beneath the lawns and patios.

And the landmen — as they’re known — are also turning up in Arapahoe and Elbert counties.

Landmen knocked on the door of Steve Budnack, who lives in Centennial Ranch, a development of large homes on large lots just outside the town of Parker.

They’ve knocked on the door of Sean Pavlich, who has a house and horses on 5 acres at the county’s northern tip.

“You move out here for the lifestyle, and with energy development, no matter how it is done, things are going to change,” Pavlich said.

The knocking on the door started last fall, Pavlich said.

“At first I just wasn’t interested, but the landmen kept coming back,” he said. “So I figured I’d better get better educated.”

The entire county, its commissioners, town officials and homeowners, is scrambling to get better educated.

An April 27 county meeting in Castle Rock that featured speakers on drilling and leasing drew about 400 people.

“It’s all new,” said Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. “A well has never been drilled in Douglas County.”

The interest is being prompted by the Niobrara, a shale-and-limestone formation more than 6,000 feet below the surface….

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