Denver company pays $194,000 to resolve claims it took federal minerals without permission | USAO-CO


DENVER—The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that PDC Energy, Inc., an oil and gas company headquartered in Denver, Colorado, has paid $194,000 to resolve allegations that it allegedly drilled, then operated, an oil and gas well that extracted Federal minerals. without authorization.

In order to access federal minerals managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), oil and gas exploration companies must first obtain a federal lease and permit issued by the BLM to drill an oil well and gas. The Federal lease includes an obligation to pay a United States mining royalty for Federal minerals produced from the well. Taking minerals without permission is considered trespassing.

The United States alleges that in 2015, PDC drilled a well in Federal Minerals in Weld County, Colorado, without first obtaining the necessary permits. The United States further contends that PDC then operated this well for several years without paying compensation to the United States for the minerals it extracted. PDC notified the United States of this well after a prior investigation and settlement with PDC regarding mining intrusion. PDC cooperated fully with the investigation.

“Federal public lands belong to all of us, and protecting them is a priority for our office,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “Oil and gas companies wishing to drill on federal lands and extract publicly owned minerals must obtain a permit.”

“This settlement is a direct result of the collaboration and diligence of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and the Office of the Attorney with the Department of Justice to protect the resources our nation’s minerals and ensure that public revenues are collected on behalf of all American taxpayers,” said Ron Gonzales, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of the Interior, Inspector’s Office Energy Investigations Unit. general.

“The BLM is responsible for managing the public’s energy and mineral resources. We take this responsibility seriously both to ensure the public receives due compensation and to enable the management of affected lands and resources,” said Doug Vilsack, BLM Colorado State Manager.

This case was handled by Assistant US Attorney Andrea Wang.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and no liability has been determined.



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