Bill Barrett Corp. (NYSE: BBG) has entered into a settlement agreement with the US Department of Interior and certain conservation organizations regarding its Cottonwood Gulch natural gas asset located on the Roan Plateau of Northwest Colorado.
Under the settlement, the Department of Interior cancels approximately 36,000 gross acres of the 40,650 gross acres under lease and Bill Barrett Corp. receives a lease bonus refund of $42.3 million net to the company.
The funds are expected to be received in the first quarter of 2015. The company will retain a 90% interest in 4,650 gross acres, which it considers the most prospective leasehold acreage as it immediately offsets existing production and infrastructure. The settlement accelerates the timetable for future access to this and other third-party acreage at the base of the plateau and reduces the potential for future environmental challenges to development of potentially significant natural gas reserves.