Southern Ute Department of Energy

Exploration & Production

Exploration & Production / Compliance

The Exploration & Production / Compliance Division is responsible the technical aspects of energy development and environmental regulatory compliance on the reservation.

The SUIT DOE has created a guidance manual for Exploration and Production (E&P) operators who are planning an oil & gas development project. This document, Exploration & Production Operator’s Manual for Energy Development Projects on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation provides guidance to E&P Operators on the processes for obtaining 1) authorization to drill an oil and gas (O&G) well and 2) right-of-way (ROW) easements and surface leases on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation (SUIR).

Well pads, pipelines and other facilities are subject to inspection during construction, drilling, before and/or after interim reclamation is established, during day-to-day operations and during plugging and final reclamation. Inspections may be completed by BLM, BIA, SUIT DOE or the SUIT DNR Range Division, depending on jurisdiction. SUIT DOE has implemented an Environmental Compliance Program to inspect sites on tribal trust lands across the Reservation to assist Operators in the recognition of compliance issues that may exist on their well pads and facilities.

The Tribe requests that Operators comply with applicable regulatory requirements including taking measures to prevent, control and clean up spills, developing and implementing a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan, installing appropriate BMPs to prevent releases, and promptly responding during emergency situations as required by applicable regulations (e.g., EPA regulations contained in 40 C.F.R. § 112).

The Tribe requests that, in addition to complying with applicable regulatory requirements regarding reporting spills to the requisite federal and state agencies, Operators report to the Tribe a spill of any kind (produced water, condensate, chemicals, etc.) under the following circumstances:

  • if the spill exceeds or is equal to one barrel (42 gallons) outside of secondary containment or five barrels (210 gallons) within secondary containment
  • if the spill threatens to impact a residence or occupied structure, livestock, or a public byway
  • if the spill flows into or threatens live water, an irrigation ditch, or a dry arroyo (waters of the U.S.)
  • if the spill has the potential to reach groundwater

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