The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Tuesday signed off on Noble Energy Inc.’s plan to drill oil wells on extensive leases it holds in northeast Nevada in Tabor Flats.

Earlier this year, BLM accumulated public comments on the proposed drilling project as part of an environmental assessment (EA) for the Mary’s River Oil/Gas Exploration Project. Noble executives have talked up the northeast Nevada area as a tight oil prospect (see Shale Daily, April 4).

Noble plans to drill and complete up to 20 wells on public and private lands, and conduct oil and gas exploratory drilling, BLM said. According to Noble’s plans, 35 potential well pad sites have been identified, and 20 may be constructed over the next two years.

The project area includes 39,445 acres, including 20,622 acres on public lands. About 7%, or 2,606 acres, of private lands for which BLM manages the subsurface mineral rights are involved separately. Other private lands and minerals account for 41% of the project acreage, or 16,220 acres.

Noble has 330,000 gross acres in the state, which it estimates may hold the potential for 1.3 billion boe of gross resources, CFO Ken Fisher said earlier this year (see Shale Daily, March 27).

A 30-day review of the EA was completed in late April.