La Plata County more than tripled the fee it charges gas companies to process permits for new wells on Monday in an effort to brace itself for a flurry of increased natural-gas drilling in the months ahead.
The board of county commissioners unanimously approved a measure that raises the permitting fee for a new well from $385 to $1,300. The resolution also raises the permit fee for major facilities, such as compression and water-injection stations, from $1,280 from $3,000.
In the past two months, gas giant BP and Tulsa, Okla.-based Samson Resources both won approval from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to double the number of coal-bed methane wells on large tracts of county land.
BP expects to file for permits for 100 new wells by the end of 2006 and drill about 75. Currently, the company operates about 1,100 coal-bed methane wells in the county.
Across the border, San Juan County does not require a permit. Neighboring Archuleta County charges $385 to process a new well permit, while Delta County bills just $150. Gas-rich Garfield County takes a $400 base fee and then charges an hourly rate for all permit-related work.