Green River Basin study finds broad barriers to drilling


Maureen Lorenzetti
OGJ Online

WASHINGTON, DC, June 6 -- US Department of Energy officials told a National Petroleum Council meeting Wednesday that industry is even more restricted from drilling in the Rocky Mountains than was previously thought.

The council is a 175-member federal committee that advises the US Energy Secretary on oil and gas issues.

Working on a tract-by-tract basis, a team from the departments of Energy, Interior, and Agriculture spent 7 months studying federal lands in the Greater Green River Basin of Wyoming and Colorado.

It found that 68% of the area's technically recoverable natural gas resources, as much as 79 tcf, is either closed to development or under significant access restrictions. About 30% was completely off limits, while 39% was available with restrictions industry said are objectionable.

DOE said the findings conflict with data from environmental groups such as the Wilderness Society, which maintain industry already has wide access to most federal lands and restricted areas need continuing environmental protection.

"The Bush administration has created the myth that an oil and gas bonanza awaits us in our national forests if only we turn industry loose there," said Michael Francis, director of the national forest program for the Wilderness Society. "It's a fairy tale. Nor is it true that the industry has been denied access. Companies have exploited most of the roadless areas they thought had much potential, and the new roadless policy would have no effect on existing leases. This is much ado about nothing."

He said in Colorado, for example, roadless areas account for just 3% of the acreage with oil and gas potential, and only 2% of the roadless areas are under lease.

DOE, however, concurs with industry's argument that many areas that may be technically available for exploration are in effect off-limits because of constraints that may need to be revisited.

It said its forecasts show that by 2020 the US will need 50% more natural gas than today. And based on that information, the White House's National Energy Policy calls for a review of public land status and lease stipulations that may be impeding federal oil and gas exploration development.

DOE said that of the 39% of federal natural gas resources cited in Green River Basin, much of the area is restricted for 3 to 9 months to provide winter habitat for large game or to allow sage grouse or raptors to nest.

Gas estimates were obtained mainly from the US Geological Survey's 1995 national oil and gas assessment, which is being updated. Government geologists told the administration and Congress earlier this year they expect their new assessment to have higher reserve estimates because of technological advances in drilling and recovery. Data collection has also improved dramatically.

Nevertheless, DOE's latest analysis using USGS's outdated numbers show federal land is still much more restricted than what the NPC estimated in its December 1999 study on natural gas access. NPC put the figure at 40% for the region.

The Greater Green River Basin study was conducted in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service, and is part of a larger planned project to analyze gas resources under federal lands in the Rocky Mountain region.

DOE officials said they are now analyzing production on federal lands in Uinta and Piceance basins in Utah and Colorado.

Contact Maureen Lorenzetti at maureenl@ogjonline.com

Related Articles

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

Macondo settlement seen ‘positive’ for BP

07/06/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s recent agreement to settle federal and state claims related to the 2010 Macondo blowout and spill improves t...

Court to EPA: Costs matter

07/06/2015 Oil and gas groups did not respond immediately when the US Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that the US Environmental Protection Agency acted unreaso...

Innovation addresses US environmental regulations; more needed

07/06/2015 Technology spawned the recent boom in US oil and gas production which in turn led to new regulations that keep the environment and people safe.

Earth model assists Permian asset valuation

07/06/2015 Laredo Petroleum Inc.'s Permian-Garden City asset is an unconventional resource play with more than four potential stacked zones covering a 1,700 s...

China's Yanchi area, western Ordos basin derived from mixed source

07/06/2015 The Yanchi area lies in the west of China's Ordos basin and to the west of the giant Sulige gas field, site of recent breakthroughs in Lower Permia...

Newfoundland, Labrador prepare for deepwater exploration

07/06/2015 Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board's (C-NLOPB) most recent call for bids for the Eastern Newfoundland Region is coming to a ...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected