BLM considers trade for mountain acreage near Casper

The US Bureau of Land Management’s Casper, Wyo., field office is considering a proposal to exchange approximately 3,500 acres of BLM-administered public land for 160 acres of private land owned by Howell Petroleum Corp.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 11 -- The US Bureau of Land Management’s Casper, Wyo., field office is considering a proposal to exchange approximately 3,500 acres of BLM-administered public land for 160 acres of private land owned by Howell Petroleum Corp.

BLM said the federally managed acreage is within the Salt Creek oil field in north-central Natrona County, where Howell, which Anadarko Petroleum Corp. acquired in 2002, has used enhanced recovery to increase production. Under the proposal, the US Department of the Interior agency would exchange this land for a parcel adjoining its environmental education area on Muddy Mountain south of Casper.

BLM would receive sand and gravel rights on the mountain property, while the state of Wyoming would retain all other mineral rights. The federal government would retain all mineral rights on public land within the Salt Creek field, BLM said.

“We realize there is a very large disparity in acreages under consideration,” said Joy Meyer, BLM Casper field office manager, on May 7. “By law, land exchanges must be completed on an equal-value basis, so the market value of mountain property sharply affects the acreages involved.”

Meyer said acquisition of the mountain property would provide additional public recreational access and afford opportunities to protect Muddy Mountain area natural resources. The Howell acreage is an undisturbed mountain area with a combination of forest, a spring-fed pond, streams with associated riparian areas, and sagebrush and grassland.

BLM’s Casper field office has scheduled public meetings on the proposal on May 19 in Midwest, Wyo., and May 20 in Casper. Comments will be accepted at those meetings as well as until June 19 at the agency’s Casper field office.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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