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Watch Greeley Get Surrounded By 15,000 Oil Wells In 13 Years

Center for Western Priorities
A screen shot of the maps of oil wells from the Center for Western Priorities

We all know oil and gas drilling has taken off around the Front Range. Sometimes, though, it's hard to actually visualize that change.

A new set of animations created by the Center for Western Priorities shows how wells expand around the Front Range and other Colorado communities over the past 13 years.


As the animation shows, there were quite a few wells already in 1990, east of I-25 and roughly parallel to Longmont. As time passes, the number of wells in that area increase in concentration and spreads up and out from the center, eventually forming a sort of bull’s-eye with Greeley in the center.


While Front Range drilling gets a lot of attention, other communities have also seen significant impacts.


It's interesting to note the animations reflect the gas rush in the Four Corners area in Durango, which boomed in the early 2000s and has slowed since.

Lately, lots of folks have been wondering if falling oil prices will slow the drilling boom in places like North Dakota, Texas and Colorado. The answer to that question – whether it is worth it to an oil company to drill more wells – is complicated, as Inside Energy's Emily Guerin explains.

At this point, it's not likely the Front Range oil boom will slow anytime soon, but how it happens may change. The Governor's task force on energy, which will make recommendations on how communities can regulate energy development, will issue its recommendations in early 2015.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.
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