The Wyoming office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved Bill Barrett Corp.’s proposal to drill seven exploratory natural gas wells in the McCullough Peaks area east of Cody, WY.

“The BLM approves the proposed action…for exploration and potential drilling of up to seven wells and associated facilities within the Rocktober Unit” in the McCullough Peaks area, wrote Michael P. Steward, field manager of the BLM office in Cody, in the record decision.

“I have determined that the proposed [exploratory] action is in conformance with the approved land use plan and will not have any significant impact on the human, natural and physical environment,” he said.

Denver-based Bill Barrett, a Rocky Mountain producer, proposes to drill seven exploratory gas wells within the Rocktober Unit Project, which would result in an estimated 155 acres of initial surface disturbance. Of the seven proposed wells, BLM said that so far it has received three applications for permits to drill in the Cretaceous Cody Shale.

“Because the proposed wells may be drilled to depths of 10-17,000 feet below surface, 90 to 240 (per plan of development) days of drilling and completion activities may be required to drill and complete the seven wells,” the decision record said. “It is possible some drilling activities may require to be completed in stages in order to adhere to wildlife timing limit restrictions,” it noted. “The BLM may grant the operator an exception or waiver to timing restrictions only if there is no impact to sensitive species (e.g., sage grouse).”

If natural gas is found in sufficient quantities, Bill Barrett has proposed a network of pipelines to transport produced gas from the wells to a proposed compressor station, and then on to the existing Colorado Interstate Gas pipeline.

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