Salazar applauds collaboration, authorizes eastern Utah gas project

US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar hailed the collaboration that made an agreement possible as he signed the record of decision authorizing Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s Greater Natural Buttes natural gas project in eastern Utah. “The partnership we see here not only with the oil and gas community, but also the conservation community, shows that we can have both: abundant, responsible energy production, and protection of our scenic and recreation resources,” he said during a May 8 signing ceremony in Salt Lake City.

Approval clears the way for Anadarko to drill as many as 3,675 wells in an existing producing area in Uintah County while safeguarding air quality and protecting critical wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation values, Salazar said. The project encompasses 163,000 acres but will disturb only 5% of the area’s surface, or 8,100 acres, as a result of the 1,484 well pads where drilling will occur over 10 years in the Uinta basin, he indicated.

The project will support as many as 4,300 jobs during development, and an average of 975 jobs during the project’s lifetime, Salazar said. “Perhaps even more impressive is the collaboration among federal and state agencies, the industry, the conservation community, and local and tribal leaders to allow this project to go forward,” he continued. “This effort has created a template for what ought to be happening in development of our oil and gas resources around America.”

US Bureau of Land Management Director Robert V. Abbey, who also participated in the ceremony at the Kern River Compressor Station in Salt Lake, said Greater Natural Buttes’ projected production will reach 3-4% of the region’s total over the next 2 decades. BLM prepared the project’s final environmental impact statement in coordination with the US Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Uintah County government participating as formal cooperating agencies, and coordinated closely with the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure their concerns were properly addressed, he said.

Abbey said as a result of the collaborative process among federal, state, local and tribal governments, Anadarko and the Utah conservation community, the project will implement best management practices in the project area to safeguard air quality and protect crucial big game winter range, sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat, sensitive soils, visual effects and recreational use.

‘A shrinking oasis'

Stephen Bloch, the energy program director at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) who also spoke on behalf of the Wilderness Society and Natural Resources Defense Council, said the White River stretches across the project area’s southeastern corner and is “one of Utah’s most remarkable wilderness and recreation resources.”

Bloch said after several frank discussions with Anadarko employees, the Houston independent agreed to not drill in particularly sensitive areas and to implement mitigation measures to address SUWA and other environmental groups’ biggest concerns. “This is not the first time the conservation community has reached out to the oil and gas industry and reached a consensus agreement, nor will it be the last,” he said.

Brad Holly, the project’s general manager, called it “a shining example of what we can achieve if we all work together for productive energy solutions.” He said Anadarko has used new technology to reduce environmental impacts and lower development costs so they’re economic, including processes to recover liquids from up to 500 MMcfd of production. “We’re moving to closed loop systems which eliminate the need for an open pit,” he said. “We’re also [taking multiple steps] to capture emissions at the well site and not release them into the atmosphere.”

Juan Palma, BLM’s Utah state director, said the Interior agency has been working for the past year on an air-quality plan for the state. “We are requiring companies to make less volatile organic compounds go into the atmosphere, which means fewer ponds and more direct collection,” he said. “There also is a lot of vehicular traffic which creates dust that could be eliminated by collecting more of the gas from pipelines. The object is not only to have a higher air quality level, but also stable air quality.”

Palma said the agreement that set the stage for the project’s approval reflected the work of many individuals in federal, tribal, state, and local governments; Anadarko, and the environmental community over a long period. “In order to see eye-to-eye, we needed to meet face-to-face,” he observed. “That’s what was necessary to move this critical energy project for Utah and the nation forward.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

TransCanada challenges EPA’s comments on Keystone XL SEIS

02/11/2015 TransCanada Corp. responded to the Feb. 2 comment letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency on the US Department of State’s final suppleme...

PACE survey finds 69% support for crude exports to trading partners

02/11/2015 More than two thirds of registered voters responding in a nationwide telephone survey commissioned by Producers for American Crude Exports (PACE) s...

Operators cutting methane emissions

02/10/2015 Cuts in methane emissions from oil and gas production ought to be combined with aggressive efforts to curb excessive carbon dioxide releases, produ...

Emissions from liquid unloadings vary by region

02/10/2015 A recent study by the University of Texas at Austin and the environmental testing firm URS indicated that a small percentage of wells account for t...

ND bills would expand Industrial Commission, void flaring rule, vapor-pressure standards

02/10/2015 Republican lawmakers in North Dakota have initiated legislation that would bring already-established rules on reduced gas flaring and on oil condit...

Renewed uncertainty emerges over Greater Sunrise development

02/10/2015 There has been renewed uncertainty over the development of the Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-operated Greater Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea followin...

Senators’ bill aims to curb flaring by expediting permit process

02/09/2015 North Dakota and Wyoming’s US senators introduced legislation that aims to capture methane and reduce flaring by expediting procedures for obtainin...

Association presidents want more access in next 5-year OCS plan

02/09/2015 The presidents of three major US oil and gas trade associations urged the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to keep more of the US Outer Contine...

After Keystone nod, Congress should okay ANWR leasing

02/09/2015 Now that it has passed legislation supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, Congress should approve oil and gas leasing of the Arctic National Wildlife...
White Papers

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

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

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