BLM OKs plan for up to 100 gas wells
The Bureau of Land Management has approved a plan by EnCana Oil & Lamp; Gas to drill up to 100 natural gas wells on Grass Mesa south of Rifle over the next two to three years. The BLM approved the plan on Nov. 4The Bureau of Land Management has approved a plan by EnCana Oil & Gas to drill up to 100 natural gas wells on Grass Mesa south of Rifle over the next two to three years. The BLM approved the plan on Nov. 4.According to the plan, EnCana will drill six gas wells from one existing well pad and 94 wells from 16 new well pads. Most of the drilling would occur west of County Road 319.The planning area encompasses 15.3 sections of surface land, or 9,792 acres, with more than 40 percent of the land under the jurisdiction of the BLM field office in Glenwood Springs. Nearly 60 percent of the land is privately owned.Copies of the Geographic Area Plan are available from the Glenwood Springs Field Office, 50629 Highway 6 & 24, Glenwood Springs or online at http://www.co.blm.gov/gsra/GrassMesaOilandGasGlenwood.htm.Similar to an Environmental Impact Statement, the GAP includes an environment assessment that studied special status plants such as Harrington’s penstemon, wildlife, and paleontological, air quality and cultural resources. The plan also requires mitigation on specific well pads because of wildlife, landowners’ and cultural resource concerns.Under the plan, initial gas development would disturb a total of approximately 96 acres, based on an average of approximately six acres per pad during construction, drilling and completion. Following drilling and completion, approximately 5 acres of each pad would be reclaimed, resulting in approximately 16 acres of well pad disturbance that would remain for the 20- to 30-year life of the project.Approximately nine miles of pipeline segments would be constructed along existing roads.According to the BLM, the plan is intended to provide a two- to three-year look at overall development rather than requiring the natural gas producer to apply for well drilling permits on a case-by-case basis.EnCana will commence drilling the 100 wells in 2005 and continue drilling over a period of two to three years. All wells will be directionally drilled to depths of 7,200 to 10,100 feet. All would be drilled on existing EnCana leases on Grass Mesa.Also, according to its policy, EnCana will operate no more than five drill rigs at one time on Grass Mesa. In general, only electric drill rigs would be used.Drilling and construction operations will cease from Dec. 1 through Mar. 31 due to wildlife wintering and migration considerations.Drilling and construction operations will cease from Dec. 1 through Mar. 31 due to wildlife wintering and migration considerations.
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