QEP revisits proposed new Pinedale office facility
Pine Creek runs through part of the property. Buildings are set back 200 feet from the riparian area, behind the photographer.
The pole marks the location of the first building. The creek riparian area is behind the people in the background.
For more information about this project, contact:
QEP Senior Communications Specialist
Would add as many as 70 new jobs to community
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
July 1, 2010
QEP Energy Company, a subsidiary of the newly spun-off QEP Resources, Inc. that was formerly a part of Questar Corporation, is revisiting the proposal to build a new office facility south of Pinedale on their Pineís End Ranch property. QEP Energy Company focuses on the natural gas exploration and production aspect of the company, operating in the Pinedale Anticline gas field south of Pinedale.
The company announced the reintroduction of the office building proposal at a media presentation and site tour co-hosted by the Sublette County Economic Resource Council (SERC) and the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce on June 23rd in Pinedale.
Alexis Berg, Director of SERC, said they have been working with QEP for over a month to encourage them to revisit the office complex proposal. "It would create jobs and keep jobs here in Sublette County," she said. The new facility would add 70 new full-time permanent jobs to the current 50 positions currently working in the companyís Pinedale operations.
The proposal also has the full support of the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce, said Director Terrie Swift. "It is the local Chamberís job to create jobs and bring vitality to the community. " She said the new facility will be environmentally friendly.
Diana Hoff, General Manager of the QEP Pinedale Division, said the Pinedale Anticline gas fields are very large, among the top five largest in the country. With the development phase resulting in a steady increase of wells, now the company is moving into the more stable, longer-term production phase jobs.
Questar owns commercial property in downtown Pinedale, however they have outgrown their current facilities and are renting additional office space in town to accommodate all their office operation needs. In 2008, the company purchased the Pines End Ranch property for their growth plans. They wanted a location south of Pinedale to reduce the traffic impacts to downtown from their daily operations and to have a site that could accommodate a larger office and give them a secure onsite storage yard and staging area for their equipment transfers.
The gas field production phase is expected to last between 30 to 50 years in the Pinedale Anticline area, which is a big part of the incentive for the company to build a permanent office facility near Pinedale. Having the building close to the Bureau of Land Management field office, which regulates the drilling activity on federal land, was a big factor for locating the companyís office in Pinedale.
The rezone request and construction proposal involves only 10% of the 217-acre Pineís End Ranch. QEP has no plans at this time to develop the remaining portion of the property. Nearby land is zoned agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial.
The latest proposal includes:
- Office building with +/- 40 offices
- Large conference rooms
- Change rooms for field personnel
- Parking lot to accommodate field and office employees
- Garage bays and car wash bay
- Storage yard for new/cleaned production equipment
Questar first brought up the office complex rezone proposal in August, 2009. They withdrew it after citizen concerns arose during public meetings over wildlife, views, watershed and traffic.
The desire for an access road from US 191 to the Pinedale Anticline was one of the early hopes for the strategic location of the property, an idea supported by the Sublette County Commissioners. Currently large truck traffic destined for the Pinedale Anticline gas field must access from either southern roads or take the highway through Pinedale and access using industrial roads west of town. The access road proposal was opposed by some Pinedale residents and adjacent landowners. QEPís latest proposal does not include any plans for an access road or easement from their property into the Pinedale Anticline.
Another concern from the earlier proposal was what equipment would be stored in the yard and the possibility of runoff contamination from the site into Pine Creek and the New Fork River riparian systems. Kevin Williams, District Manager for QEP, said the yard would be a staging area for new or clean equipment which would quickly be transferred out to the well sites. There would be no tanks or chemicals associated with any of the equipment to be stored. The buildings are situated more than 200 feet away from the riparian area, well exceeding setback requirements. The landscaping and drainage plan are designed to handle the water and runoff expected from the site, said Jeff Hosea with WLC Engineering.
Williams said currently their equipment inventory is spread out and stored in Rock Springs, Casper and Big Piney. He said he expected about $15 million in inventory to be stored at the new onsite staging yard. He said one of the benefits of having the yard at the new Pinedale facility would be that Sublette County would collect the use tax on that equipment instead of that revenue going to other counties.
The location south of town allows the company to eliminate much of the traffic associated with their operations through Pinedale. Williams said at the peak, he expected only 2 or 3 big truck trips coming into the facility yard on a typical day transporting equipment. The rest of the traffic would be smaller vehicles. QEP buses its drilling contractors to the field during the winter, which also minimizes vehicle traffic.
Based on national studies of the economic impacts of natural gas production, QEP says the 70 new jobs will spur creation of another 210 local jobs. They project their payroll will increase from the current $3.5 million per year to $12.6 million, which will result in another $19.8 million of indirect and induced salary earnings for others in the community. The jobs that will be created are anticipated to be from $30,000 to $130,000 per year, depending on the role. Positions expected would be in the areas of production, IT, safety, regulatory/biology, and gas gathering at the compressor station.
The company plans to schedule public meetings to answer any questions citizens might have with the proposal. If the zone change request is approved by the County Commissioners, the company would like to proceed with construction as soon as possible. The project is scheduled to be heard on the August 19, 2010 Sublette County Planning & Zoning agenda.
Anyone who has questions or concerns about the project is welcome to contact Emily Kelly, QEP Senior Communications Specialist, 303-308-3623, Emily.Kelley@qepres.com.