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Northern Colorado Oil And Gas Drilling Explained In 2½ Minutes

Stephanie Paige Ogburn
In the foreground several seperators commonly found at a producing well site. In the background, a drill rig and sound barrier loom at a well site that is in the drilling process.

Energy development is burgeoning along the Front Range. As more and more Coloradans come into contact with the oil and gas industry there has been some conflict, as well as lots of questions.

For example, just what is the basic drilling process?


In the heated debate over energy development sometimes the basic facts or understanding get lost in the turmoil. One of the things we noticed was that the process of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, often gets conflated with drilling or has become the catch-all term for energy development. The industry has certainly expressed a frustration with that.

In order to learn more, we visited three oil and gas sites to get an overview of the process: A drilling site, a fracturing operation, and a finished and producing well site. The above video shows what we saw and learned and serves as a basic overview of what is often a very technical process.

Do you have a question about energy development (or anything else)? Ask KUNC in the comments or drop us a line at ask@kunc.org.

Some of the reporting for this video was supported with a Shale Country Fellowship from the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.
I’m not a Colorado native (did you know that "I'm from Missouri" means "I'm skeptical of the matter and not easily convinced?") but I have lived here for most of my life and couldn't imagine leaving. After graduating from Colorado State University, I did what everyone wants to do; I moved to the mountains and skied, hiked, and hid from responsibility! Our listeners in the mountains may know me from my time in Steamboat Springs and Vail or as the voice of the Battle Mountain Huskies Hockey team in Vail.
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