DENVER
01/04/2011 06:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Drilling Permits Were Third Highest Ever In 2010

2010 was the third-best year for oil and gas permitting in Colorado history, with nearly 6,000 new permits issued.

5,996 permits were issued in 2010, compared with 5,159 issued in 2009.

Representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Asso­ciation told the Craig Daily Press that the increase in permits can be attributed to many factors, including oil prices, technological breakthroughs and an increasingly efficient permitting process.

"It seems like we are a little more efficient than we have been in the past and maybe that combined with the oil prices and their technological breakthroughs and the horizontal drilling being something new and exciting for the operators -- combine all those things and that has a lot to do with it," Larry Coler, a permit technician with the Colorado Oil and Gas and Conservation Commission, told the Daily Press.

The increase comes despite concerns that more stringent oil and gas regulations that went into effect in the middle of 2009 would stifle drilling activity.

State officials did tell the Craig Daily Press that, because of low global gas prices, many energy companies have applied for permits, but haven't yet started drilling.