Surface Mineral Resources Evaluation and Remoteness OpinionContra Costa County, California
Geocon performed a surface mineral resources evaluation and provided a remoteness opinion on a 132-acre agricultural property in eastern Contra Costa County, California, for the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT). BALT was seeking funding for the conservation easement from the California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) under California’s Department of Conservation. Because a portion of the mineral rights for the property were held by others, the CFCP required that BALT obtain a remoteness opinion for the property. Our objective was to assess the potential presence of economical quantities of mineral resources at the property and the remoteness that mineral rights would be exercised and mineral extraction conducted at the Site in a manner that would be inconsistent with the goals of the proposed agricultural conservation easement. The primary challenge in preparing this remoteness opinion was that the property was located in a region with a history of natural gas production. Our remoteness opinion indicated, based on decline of gas production and abandonment of previously producing gas wells in the vicinity, non-productivity of gas wells drilled (and abandoned) proximal to the property, and general absence of further gas well drilling within at least one mile of the Site, that the site vicinity does not currently have economically viable gas reserves. However, we could not rule out the potential that future technological or economic changes could trigger renewed interest in the area. Combined with other factors identified through our communications with CFCP and California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources personnel, the CFCP’s requirements were satisfied, and they were able to fund the project.