BLM approves Oak Mesa unit gas development agreement

The US Bureau of Land Management approved a unit agreement for orderly and efficient development of natural gas leases in the Oak Mesa area of Delta County in western Colorado, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 14 -- The US Bureau of Land Management approved a unit agreement for orderly and efficient development of natural gas leases in the Oak Mesa area of Delta County in western Colorado, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

The unit was proposed by federal leaseholders on 25,000 acres of public and private land in Delta County, BLM’s Colorado state office said. The federal mineral rights are all existing leases held by Gunnison Energy Corp., Retamco Operating Inc., and Richard A. Peterson, it said.

Jerry Strahan, deputy state BLM director for energy, lands, and minerals in Colorado, said the unit’s approval does not authorize gas development in the area. “These leaseholders already have the right to apply for permits,” he explained. “The unit agreement merely eliminates internal lease boundaries within the unit area and requires a schedule for development, allowing for more orderly and efficient development of the oil and gas resources. Unit boundaries are based on the geology of the area.”

The administrative action provides for exploration and development of the area by a single operator, who must drill a test well within 6 months, he continued. It does not authorize surface disturbance or drilling on the approximately 23,000 acres of federal land within the unit, Strahan said. BLM will need to analyze these activities, which are subject to approval under the National Environmental Policy Act as well as from BLM, on a case-by-case basis, he indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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