The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given tentative approval to drill up to 2,000 natural gas wells in the Atlantic Rim Natural Gas Project in the eastern Washaki Basin, located in Carbon County, WY. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is developing the project with Warren Resources Inc. and Double Eagle Petroleum and Mining Co.
BLM's proposed final environmental impact statement (EIS) is the last step prior to issuing a decision, which is expected in 1Q2007. Under BLM's proposed final EIS, the partners would be allowed to drill up to 1,800 coalbed methane (CBM) wells and 200 conventional wells. BLM's proposed minimum well spacing would be 80 acres per well.
BLM examined four alternatives and noted that it likely would select Alternative D, which would monitor and minimize the amount of surface disturbance by allowing an average per-well disturbance of six-and-one-half acres, and a maximum disturbed acreage at any time of 7,600 acres. This maximum disturbed acreage would initially limit the Atlantic Rim project to 1,200 wells. However, reclaimed acreage would be credited against the maximum allowable disturbed acreage, including short-term reclaimed acreage following drilling and completion activities. Wastewater produced from the CBM wells would be disposed of by subsurface reinjection.
The project first was initiated in 2001 as the "Atlantic Rim Coalbed Methane Project," but the proponents modified their proposal to reduce the number of CBM wells and to develop some conventional gas wells. The project includes 270,080 acres, with surface ownership of 173,672 acres that are federal (64%), 14,060 acres that are state-owned (5%) and 82,348 acres that are privately owned (31%). About 132 gas wells have already been completed to the coal formations within the Atlantic Rim area, according to the BLM. Wells, roads, pipelines, compressors and other associated facilities were constructed with an interim drilling policy, specifically for guiding exploration activities needed to evaluate gas resources within the area.
The proposed final EIS was published in the Federal Register and may be viewed on the BLM's website at http://www.wy.blm.gov/nepa/rfodocs/atlantic_rim/index.htm. Comments, which will be accepted until Jan. 4, should be directed to David Simons, Project Lead, BLM, Rawlins Field Office, P.O. Box 2307, Rawlins, WY 82301. Comments also may be sent electronically by writing "Atlantic Rim Natural Gas Development Project" in the subject line and sending the message to Atlantic_Rim_EIS_WYMail@blm.gov.
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