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Antero Resources v. Airport Land Partners.

2023 CO 13. No. 21SCS33. Statutory Interpretation—Oil and Gas Conservation Act—COGCC Jurisdiction—Payment-of-Proceeds Disputes.

March 27, 2023

In this case, the Supreme Court considered what constitutes a bona fide dispute over the interpretation of a contract such that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) must decline jurisdiction under CRS § 34-60-118.5. The Court concluded that COGCC may not resolve a payment-of-proceeds dispute involving a contract where the parties disagree about the meaning or application of a relevant contract term. COGCC does not have authority to resolve contract disputes on the theory that either the disputed contract terms are unambiguous or settled law compels a certain interpretation because these determinations themselves involve contract interpretation. The Court further concluded that COGCC lacked jurisdiction over each of the disputes here. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the division below.

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