SANTA FE ― Thanks to the commitment of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham and her Secretary-designate Sarah Propst Cottrell in making citizen and advocate voices a part of government, the application for Texas-based Hilcorp Energy Co. to double its well density in the San Juan area will be reconsidered at a hearing Tuesday, Jan. 8.
On her first day in office, Commissioner Garcia Richard requested that the Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) review its prevision decision regarding the Hilcorp application. The three-member state Oil Conservation Commission has agreed to review its decision to allow Hilcorp Energy Co. to increase the density of natural gas wells in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin.
Dec. 31, 2018, departing OCD Director Heather Riley’s final day in the position, former Commissioner Dunn received a letter from Director Riley stating that the OCC would not consider the State Land Office’s (SLO) Dec. 24, 2018 Application for Rehearing in Case No. 16403. In response, Commissioner Garcia Richard noted that Director Riley did not constitute a valid action of the OCC and violated Section 22.214.171.124 NMAC, which requires ten business days to pass before an application for rehearing is deemed denied without formal action by the OCC.
In her Jan. 2, 2019 letter, Commissioner Garcia Richard further requested that the Secretary-designate, Sarah Cottrell Propst convene a special meeting of the OCC to consider the SLO’s application. Jan. 3, 2019, Secretary Designate Cottrell Propst issued a notice of the Jan. 8. 2019 hearing to consider the application.
“The original decision was not only in violation of the Open Meetings Act and OCC rules but it set a dangerous precedent,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “It is imperative that we make a decision in the region that ensures long-term sustainability and production that is fair to every producer in the state.”