From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 37 - 5/11/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

17 New Gas Wells Planned for Pinedale Anticline in 2000

by Rob Shaul

The seven oil and gas companies with leases on the Pinedale Anticline plan to drill 17 new natural gas wells in 2000. BP Amoco, Yates Petroleum, Ultra, Anschutz, McMurry Oil and Questar reported their 2000 drilling plans to the Pinedale Anticline Transporation Committee at its April 13 meeting.

According to the minutes from that meeting, Questar, which purchased much of Ultra Petroleum's acerage on the Anticline last year, will lead the way this summer with nine new wells along the spine of the Anticline. McMurry Oil plans three new wells, two of which are in the southern portion of the project area, south of the Piney cuttoff. BP Amoco and Anschutz each plan two wells and Yates Petroleum plans one well. Ultra has no drilling plans for 2000 and Alpine Gas didn't report it's plans.

Much of the controversy surrounding the Pinedale Anticline project has been focused on drilling's negative visual impact on the Mesa viewshed as seen from the town of Pinedale. Importantly, none of the planned drilling this year will occur at the northern edge of the project area, which borders several subdivisions and ranches just south of Pinedale.

Anschutz drilled several wells on the Morcroft Ranch last year, but with limited success. Accordingly, this year, the two wells the company plans on drilling are located on the spine of Anticline, approximately 10 miles south of Pinedale. Questar's nearest well to Pinedale will lie 3.5 miles south of town.

The environmental impact study of the project is analyzing the effects for up to 900 new natural gas wells, however, several of the oil companies say in all liklihood far fewer wells will actually be drilled. Earlier, Questar stated that its drilling plans this year are designed to explore the field and its natural gas reserves.

FEIS Due End of May

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Pinedale Anticline Natural Gas Project will be completed and made public by the end of May, says project manager Bill McMahan of the BLM. The document is nearly two months behind schedule.

Mr. McMahan points to two reasons for the delay. First is the addition and subsequent analysis of additional mitigation members.

Secondly, Mr. McMahan says the BLM received 235 letters commenting on the Draft EIS, and must respond to each of them. This has taken time.

Following the publishing of the Final EIS, there will be a mandatory 30-day comment period. This means the final decision on the project will not be made until July, says Mr. McMahan.

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul