BLM approves Questar winter drilling
BLM waives winter wildlife restrictions for drilling area
November 13, 2005
On November 9th, the Pinedale office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued their decision notice Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Questar’s request for year-round drilling on the Pinedale Anticline. The Record of Decision and FONSI are an addendum to the original Environmental Assessment issued in July, 2005.
The FONSI states that impacts to the area, particularly wildlife habitat, will be mitigated by a combination of on-site and off-site measures to reduce impacts to other resources. This project includes 6 additional wells, 4 completions, 1 additional pad, 2 additional rigs and 2 rig moves that will occur after Nov. 15, the date when wildlife stipulations take effect.
Questar has already received BLM approval to operate three drilling pads during the winter months. In addition, Anschutz, Shell and Ultra (ASU) will also have winter drilling operations this year near Pinedale under a separate BLM decision.
According to a news release by Matt Anderson of Pinedale’s BLM Field Office, "The Questar proposal should produce an incremental 7.8 billion cubic feet of gas in 2006 or enough gas to heat 94,000 average homes for a year."
"Providing domestic sources of energy is one of the BLM’s key missions. Providing additional natural gas to consumers during this winter and spring has become a national priority. Pinedale provides one of the few areas in the nation where boosting short-term energy production is possible, due to existing infrastructure and the abundant natural gas resources found in the area," Anderson said.
The BLM worked closely with Wyoming Game and Fish on mitigation to lessen the impacts to other resources in the area, most notably mule deer winter range. An additional 250-acres of off-site mitigation in the form of habitat improvements is a condition of approval. The EA and Decision Record will be available on the BLM Pinedale Field Office web site, www.wy.blm.gov/pfo.