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Long-Awaited Wyoming Oil and Gas Drilling Plan Secures Draft EIS

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for a plan in the works by five U.S. producers to drill up to 5,000 oil and natural gas wells on federal and Wyoming state land over a 10-year period.

The Converse County project would to cover 1.5 million acres, with about 90% of the land private or state-owned. About 6% of the proposed 1,500 well pads involved in the project would be built on BLM lands.

The joint proposal originally was submitted in 2014 by units of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Devon Energy Corp. EOG Resources Inc. and SM Energy Co.

The final project may require amendments to the existing BLM Casper Resource Management Plan and the U.S. Forest Service's Thunder Basin National Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan.

Noting that the average life expectancy for each well is expected to be more than 30 years, the DEIS outlines plans for year-round development and exemptions to operate in designated sage grouse and raptor habitat.

Of the 53,000 acres directly disturbed for pipelines, road and drill pads, about 21,000 acres may be disturbed for the full life of the project, according to the DEIS.

A series of meetings for the DEIS is set for February. The 45-day comment period ends March 12.

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