Volume 7, Number 50 - March 6, 2008
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Encana Hopes To Expand Jonah
An additional 85 wells have been proposed by EnCana Oil & Gas in the area between Pinedale and Rock Springs, immediately adjacent to the current Jonah Field.
The area, currently referred to as the Normally Pressured Lance (NPL) area, is located roughly 68 miles northwest of Rock Springs.
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the NPL area has had 14 wells drilled in it since 1999. “It’s not really anything that’s new,” EnCana spokesman Randy Teeuwen said.“It’s not a big project, really.”
The proposal, set to begin in 2009, will consist of 70 wells in the core of the NPL with 15 additional wells scattered throughout the flanks. The proposal is set to span over a five-year period with roughly 15 wells each year.
“It’s an exploratory project south and west of Jonah,” Teeuwen said. “We don’t even know the extent of the opportunity there.”
The BLM states that the core area would be “drilled with an average density of one well per 80 acres, and a maximum density of one well per 40 acres. EnCana also proposes to construct associated access roads, pipelines, compressor stations and other facilities.”
The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (BCA) out of Laramie isn’t enthusiastic about the expansion, however.
“There’s no guarantee that EnCana won’t be coming back in a few years and asking for thousands of new wells to pave over this new development with well sites just like they did in Jonah... There’s no excuse for allowing wells to be drilled at 40- to 80-acres pacing ,with up to 16 wells per square mile, when the same gas could readily be recovered with a maximum of one well pad per square mile,” Suzanne Lewis of BCA said. “At the very least the BLM should be requiring this level of stewardship to protect sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitats as well as pronghorn migration corridors.”
The BLM is currently accepting comments on the proposal through March 30. Send comments to Joanna Nara-Kloepper, Rock Springs Field Office, 280 Hwy 191 North, Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/rsfodocs/encana_npl.html.
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