BLM to prepare EIS on large proposed Wyoming oil, gas project

The US Bureau of Land Management plans to prepare an environmental impact statement based on five independent producers’ plans to develop natural gas resources in 1.5 million federally managed acres in Converse County, Wyo., BLM announced.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., RKI Exploration & Production LLC, Samson Resources Corp., and SM Energy Co. have proposed drilling 5,000 wells over 10 years on largely federally managed acreage, it said in a May 16 Federal Register notice.

Comments will be accepted through June 30, and public hearings will be held in Casper, Douglas, and Glenrock, Wyo., the US Department of the Interior agency said. BLM will be lead federal agency for the EIS, with the US Forest Service participating, it added.

In a separate announcement, BLM’s Casper field office said the proposed project would use directional, vertical, horizontal, and other drilling techniques, as well as well pads, roads, pipelines, power lines, compressor and electrical substations, and ancillary facilities such as water supply wells and water disposal facilities.

Sponsors have requested full-season exceptions (year-round drilling) to multiple timing limitation restrictions that serve to protect several wildlife species in the area, it noted. About 50,000 surface acres would be disturbed initially, 20,000 of which could remain for the project’s lifetime.

Amendments to BLM’s 2007 Casper Resource Management Plan and USFS’s 2001 Thunder Basin National Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan may be necessary because the proposed project’s impacts are expected to exceed analysis thresholds within the current planning documents, BLM said.

It said the proposed activity would be on 88,000 surface acres (6% of the project area) and 965,000 subsurface mineral acres (64% of the project area), which BLM’s Casper field office administers, and 64,000 acres of surface (4%), which the USFS’s Douglas Ranger District oversees. The remainder of the project area consists of State of Wyoming, private surface, and mineral ownership, according to BLM.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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