Larimer County approves oil lease on open space farm near Berthoud

Larimer County has approved a lease allowing Extraction Oil and Gas to horizontally drill beneath the Little Thompson Farm, a preserved property south of Berthoud that is currently and will remain a working farm.

This site, if drilled, will constitute the first oil production on any preserved open space owned by Larimer County — acres that have seen many firsts, from pioneers traversing and settling the land to a water-sharing agreement in 2017.

The county will receive $594,243 for the right to drill on the property for the next three years, then 20 percent of any profits from that production. All of that money will go toward paying off a loan for a portion of the $8.4 million purchase price of the land, formerly known as the Malchow farm.

But the agreement is about much more than money, noted officials with the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, which owns the property.

Charlie Johnson, the senior land agent who negotiated the deal, said the biggest priority was to negotiate a lease that will prevent any wells or drilling infrastructure on the farm.



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