The Niobrara oil boom is attracting strong interest from more than energy developers. Denver International Airport and the Colorado Land Board are joining the “party” by partnering on the auctioning of thousands of acres for exploration and development later this year.
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The land is part of the old Lowry Bombing Range and it, along with thousands of DIA-owned acres, could yield as much as $1.5 billion in revenues and royalties, according to Marilee Utter of Denver-based Citiventure Associates.
Her company has been hired by the land board to develop
a leasing plan.
The Niobrara is a huge geological formation that runs along the Front Range from Wyoming south to New Mexico. Recent oil discoveries in Weld County area have prompted major interest from energy companies.
The area is just one part of a sprawling domain of 3 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral rights in Colorado that the land board manages. It performs a critical function for the state because revenues from oil and gas development go to K-12 education and school construction.
Sam Gary Jr. & Associates, a Denver energy company, did the revenue estimation for the land board using existing data, Utter said.
As initially proposed,the leasing plan would offer the Lowry range’s 26,000 acres in Arapahoe County as one lease. DIA share is still to be determined, but it owns 34,000 acres. Airport spokeswoman Laura Coale said it will be a publis process. “We will have to get City Council approval.”
Citiventure Associatees’ Utter emphasized what a great opportunity the Lowry/DIA auction is for the state.
“We are trying to balance conservation and oil development.”