Oil & Gas


Our leases include:

  • Oil and gas
  • Surface use agreements
  • Disposal wells
  • Gas storage
  • No surface occupancy agreements
  • Legacy mineral non-development agreements
  • Seismic exploration permits

We also offer solid mineral leases and exploration permits.

Our lessees must comply with all local, state, and federal regulations.  And they are required to obtain necessary local, state, and federal permits. Additionally, all of our lessees are required to follow our site-specific stewardship stipulations. Violating stewardship stipulations may result in lease termination. 

The Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) is the regulatory agency for oil and gas development in the State of Colorado. The State Land Board is a separate agency from the ECMC. Our agency and our lessees are subject to the same local, state, and federal rules and requirements as any private land owner.

photograph of oil and gas extraction rig massive in a rural field in elbert county


Oil and gas payers must continue to file the standard royalty production data by the established deadlines. To file production data for wells that are impacted by the negative market, insert a zero value in the Royalty Paid field of our Royalty Report Form. The Land Board cannot accept credits against royalty in an inverted market. 

For information regarding bitcoin mining, view the document 'bitcoin mining notice to operators.'


How can we help you? Here are helpful links:


I have questions about oil and gas development at Lowry Ranch. Who can I contact?

Please read our webpage for more information about the history of oil and gas development at Lowry Ranch as well as current and proposed development. 


Our History

The State Land Board owns 3,990,000 acres of mineral estate. The state received this acreage at statehood (1876) from the federal government. 

Today we have 990 active oil and gas leases covering approximately 400,000 acres of mineral estate. These leases resulted in approximately $1.5 billion earned for trust beneficiaries -- Colorado schoolchildren -- in the past 15 years.

Yet only 12% are actually produced: 88% of oil and gas leases on trust lands never go into production, i.e. no extraction occurs. 

View a slideshow about oil and gas development on trust land in Colorado or read a text-only version of the timeline:


Obtain a Lease 

The State Land Board offers oil and gas leases by competitive auction. Auctions typically take place in April, August, and December of each year. Auctions occur online through our third-party auctioneer EnergyNet. Pre-registration with EnergyNet is required to participate in the auction. Read more about the auction process, nomination information, and results

Other oil and gas leases are issued through our application process. Scroll below to Forms and Instructions to select the application you need.

This diagram depicts the leasing process. Read a text-only version of the diagram.

infographic depicting the oil and gas leasing process. See link just before image for a text-only version.

Funding Colorado public schools

Leases on trust land support Colorado public schools, per the state Constitution. Watch our short video about why we're proud that oil and gas leasing on trust lands has earned nearly $1.5 billion for Colorado's public schools in the past 15 years:



No. The State Land Board manages a specific set of lands granted to the State of Colorado in 1876 by the Federal Government for the benefit of K-12 education, Universities, and other Public Institutions. The State Land Board only maintains records of minerals managed by the State Land Board. Please see “Who owns the minerals under my house/land?” for additional resources in determining mineral ownership in Colorado.

No. Currently the State Land Board only auctions oil and gas leases through online auction, but is considering offering additional mineral leases (such as solid minerals) through this process.

The State Land Board considers lease proposals on any mineral interest. The Minerals section is split between mining (solid minerals) and other activity (oil and gas). Click here for mining-related applications. For other activities related to minerals, please scroll below to the ‘forms’ section.

Yes. The State Land Board owns roughly 4 million mineral acres throughout the state. These lands can be viewed through our GIS map server.

Follow these steps to use the map server to locate state trust minerals:

  1. Turn on the mineral ownership layer in the “Layers” box on the right of your screen. Mineral ownership is under “SLB Ownership” and when on, will appear in red dots. From there, to use the map server to identify active oil and gas leases:
  2. Turn on “SLB Leases” by clicking in the box. Then click on the “+”, scroll down to Oil & Gas and turn on “Oil and Gas - Active”.
  3. Click on the area you are interested in viewing; an “Identify” box will pop up and contain ownership information as well as active oil and gas lease information. If there is no oil and gas lease information, the tract is, most likely, not currently leased. There may be multiple records to click through -- keep an eye out for “Features” on both the Lease tab and Ownership tab that will tell you how many records exist.

Or contact Shawn Logan, Planning Specialist, at shawn.logan@state.co.us or 303-866-3454 x3346 for help.

Complete a Request for Oil and Gas Seismic Exploration Permit form which can be found below under "Forms and Instructions".  Completed form can be emailed to steve.freese@state.co.us or mailed to: 1127 Sherman Street, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80203.  Please allow 30 days from receipt for the request to be processed.  For questions or assistance, please email Steve Freese or call at 303-866-3454 ext. 3343.


No. A tract does not have to be leased for oil and gas prior to applying for a seismic exploration permit. If a tract has an active oil and gas lease, we may require written permission from the lessee prior to issuing a seismic permit.

Oil and gas leases are issued at auction for a primary term of five years. An annual rental is applicable for the life of the lease; currently, the rate is $2.50/acre. The Board’s current royalty rate is 1/5th with no deductions allowed for post-production costs.

Sixty days prior to the end of the primary term of the lease, a lessee may request an additional one (1) year extension (sixth-year extension) that is at staff discretion; additional one (1) year extensions beyond the sixth-year may be approved by the Board. Lessees should contact the Oil and Gas Specialist at minimum three months prior to the anniversary date of the lease if a lease extension is desired that must be approved by the Board.

State Land Board leases require a performance bond, which is separate from the bonding required by the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC). State Land Board bonds are required by statute to prevent waste of state trust assets and can cover items such as (but not limited to) surface reclamation, rentals, and royalties. Bonds are required prior to accessing the surface of the property, commencing operations, or any disturbance on the land. 

State leases do not have a pooling provision. In order to join state trust minerals with other minerals outside the lease (including a second state trust lease), a Communitization Agreement must be approved by the State Land Board. Communitization Agreement Guidelines and the Communitization Agreement form are available under Forms and Instructions.

Yes. All oil and gas leases have a surrender clause that allows the lessee to surrender all or a portion of the leased land, by paying all amounts due and submitting a written surrender request to the State Land Board.

To prevent unwanted rental charges, the State Land Board encourages lessees to notify the agency in writing of a request to surrender a lease. Surrender requests should be emailed to the Oil and Gas Specialist, Catie Stitt, prior to the next anniversary date of the lease. Lessees that stop paying rent without providing a proper written surrender request can be charged prorated rent. Prorated rental charges are calculated based on a timeframe that includes the State Land Board’s determination of non-payment of rent, notification period to the lessee for the unpaid rent, and time to cure a default under the terms of the lease.

For partial surrenders: only contiguous tracts totaling a minimum of 40 acres in a lease can be surrendered (unless the original lease was for less than 40 acres).

If the surrendered lease has been recorded in the county, a Release of Lease or Memorandum of Release must also be recorded in the county when the lease is relinquished and a copy of the recorded Release submitted to the State Land Board for the lease file.


Yes. But you need State Land Board approval. For details on the Oil & Gas lease assignment process, please refer to the Oil & Gas Lease Assignment Guidelines.

A Surface Use Agreement (SUA) is the mechanism through which the State Land Board agrees to allow the use of state trust surface acres to develop off-lease oil and gas. If a lessee plans to use state trust surface but either 1) does not have the underlying oil and gas lease or 2) is developing the underlying oil and gas lease AND additional acres outside the subject oil and gas lease, a SUA will be required. View our Surface Use Agreement Document Checklist, Pay Table Calculator, and sample agreement. For additional questions, contact the Minerals Field Specialist, Steve Freese, at 303 866-3454 x 3343.

A Communitization Agreement (also known as a “CA”) is the mechanism through which the State Land Board agrees to pool minerals with minerals outside the subject oil and gas lease (adjoining state trust leases will still require a CA if those leases are pooled together for development).

If a lessee is developing a Spacing and Drilling Unit (“DSU”) or has a well that will drain oil and gas from a state lease and additional acres (the well could be on or off state trust lands) a CA should be filed with the State Land Board as APDs are filed or DSU applications are filed with the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission. Check out our Communitization Agreement Guidelines and the Communitization Agreement form.

The State Land Board owns approximately 1.2 million acres of mineral estate where the surface estate above is owned by another party (“split” or “severed” estate). Under Colorado law, the mineral estate owner is granted rights to access their mineral ownership, even if the surface is owned by another party. Surface owners wanting to ensure that the development of state trust minerals does not result in a surface occupancy on their land may consider obtaining a NSO agreement with the State Land Board. The length of term for a NSO agreement and consideration charge will be determined after the application is received. NSO agreements will not prohibit oil and gas development using horizontal or directional wellbores. View this informational sheet for more information on determining whether the State Land Board owns the minerals under your property. Contact Ben Teschner at benjamin.teschner@state.co.us or 303-866-3454 x 3313 for additional information on NSO agreements.  The NSO Agreement Application and Assignment forms are available below under “Forms & Instructions.”

A subsurface easement allows non-productive oil and gas wellbore to travel through the State Land Board's pore space.  If you are drilling a well and your pipe will enter state trust lands (surface or mineral estate) you should contact our office. The contact for subsurface easements is Catie Stitt, Oil & Gas Specialist:  catie.stitt@state.co.us or 303-866-3454 x 3326.

The State Land Board requires monthly production data to be submitted on the State Land Board Royalty Report Form. The Royalty Report Form must be transmitted electronically to our office concurrent with your royalty payment. Royalty payments are due each month on the last business day of the month.

Click here for more information on royalty submission.  Please contact Heather Bradshaw, Accountant, or at 303-866-3454 x 3319 for assistance with royalty data submission and payment.

The current bonding requirements for oil and gas leases, disposal wells and surface use agreements were approved by the Board and went into effect April 1, 2016. State Land Board leases require a performance bond, which is separate from the bonding required by the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC). State Land Board bonds are required by statute to prevent waste of state trust assets and can cover items such as (but not limited to) surface reclamation, rentals, and royalties. Bonds are required prior to accessing the surface of the property, commencing operations, or any disturbance on the land. Performance bond requirements range from $25,000 per lease to a $100,000 oil and gas activity blanket bond. For details, please refer to the Oil & Gas Bonding Information and FAQs.

All oil and gas leases receive a general stipulation. The general stipulations are provided in the links below for review. 

Leases may also have a special stipulation depending on whether the lease overlaps with an identified biological or other development concern. For example, if an operator's lease is in the Greater Sage Grouse High Priority Habitat, their lease may also contain a special stipulation geared toward the protection of greater sage grouse. Another example could be if an operator's lease is near a housing development. In that case, their lease may have a special stipulation related to noise or light mitigation.

Read more about lease stipulations

Yes, there is an Oil & Gas Development Policy adopted by the Board for this type of leasing. Please note, other Board Policies may apply as well.

Most county offices will accept a printed copy.  If not, we can make a certified copy for recording purposes upon request.  Please email  Sherry.lee@state.co.us or call 303-866-3454 x3322 for help.   

For questions or assistance, please contact Catie Stitt, Oil and Gas Specialist, at 303-866-3454 x3326.


Featured stories about oil and gas

We publish a quarterly newsletter called Field Notes to share stories about our lessees, our land, and how our work helps fund public schools. Sign up to receive the newsletter, or read past issues. Check out featured stories about mineral extraction: