From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 38 - December 18, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Jonah project revised

by Cat Urbigkit

The Pinedale Bureau of Land Management office is asking the public to participate in an opportunity to review and comment on a revised Jonah Infill Project developmental proposal from Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., and a similar action that the Pinedale BLM will incorporate into the analysis.

BLM officially opened the scoping period for the Jonah Infill Drilling Project with publication in the Federal Register on March 13 of a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and of a potential amendment to the Pinedale Resource Management Plan. The scoping period remains open for receipt of comments and new information until the draft environmental impact statement is released for public review and comment.

Since March 13, the BLM has reportedly received substantive new information that has been included in a revised development proposal from EnCana. This information was presented at a public meeting on Nov. 13 in Pinedale.

"BLM believes the public should have an opportunity to comment on the new information as presented in the revised proposed action and similar action," said Prill Mecham, Pinedale BLM field manager, in a letter to the public.

The alternatives currently identified for detailed analysis in the EIS are:

No Action Alternative: 533 wells from 497 well pads.Well density of one pad per 40 acres (16 pads/section). As generally identified in the Modified Jonah Field II Project environmental assessment, estimated total initial surface disturbance is approximately 14% of the field; the estimated life-of-project surface disturbance is approximately five percent of the field.

Revised Proposed Action Alternative: Up to 3,100 new wells on up to 16,200 new acres of initial surface disturbance. Well pad density of a minimum of 64 well pads/section, or 1 pad/10 acres, and a drilling rate of up to 250 wells per year. Estimated total initial surface disturbance is approximately 67 percent of the field; estimated LOP surface disturbance is approximately 20 percent of the field.

Alternative A: Up to 3,100 new wells from the existing 497 well pads (drilling from 1 to 8 additional wells/pad; well pads would have to be expanded to accommodate additional [directional] wells). Well pad density of 16 well pads/section, as currently authorized. The estimated total initial surface disturbance is approximately 24 percent of the field; estimated LOP surface disturbance is approximately 10 percent of the field.

Alternative B: Up to 1,250 and/or 2,200 new wells from up to a maximum of 1,250 and/or 2,200 new well pads, respectively. No well pad density restrictions. The estimated total initial surface disturbance ranges from approximately 36-52 percent of the field; estimated LOP surface disturbance ranges from approximately 11-16 percent of the field.

Alternative C: Up to 3,100 new wells on: up to 266 new well pads (16 well pads/section); up to 1,028 new well pads (32 well pads/section); and 2,553 new well pads (64 well pads/section). Estimated total initial surface disturbance ranges from 25-58 percent of the field; estimated total LOP surface disturbance ranges from 8-17 percent of the field.

Alternative D: Will analyze that level of additional surface disturbance that would be consistent with the existing reasonably foreseeable development analysis identified in the current Pinedale Resource Management Plan and will further assess the consistency of this level of development with current RMP management objectives.

Mecham and the BLM are encouraging those who have already commented to consider the option of modifying their comments or submitting new comments on the revised proposed action by EnCana or the BLM similar action - or both. Details on the proposed action and similar action are available at Pinedale BLM's website at: http://www.wy.blm.gov/pfo.

"BLM firmly believes that the best land use plans are the ones that listen to and incorporate all applicable public input," said Carol Kruse, Jonah Infill project lead with the Pinedale BLM office.

Written comments due by Jan. 16 to:
Jonah Infill EIS,
BLM-Pinedale
P.O. Box 768
Pinedale, WY 82941
Or e-mail comments to:
pinedale_wymail@blm.gov.

For more info:
Carol Kruse, JIDP Planning Team Leader,
BLM-Pinedale Field Office, 307-367-5352
or carol_kruse@blm.gov.

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