Despite concerns about deteriorating air quality, oil and gas developers continue to seek new federal leases in southwest Wyoming's Sublette County, where Encana Oil & Gas USA has proposed to drill up to 3,500 natural gas wells on a site adjacent to the 20,000-acre Jonah Infill project. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering a massive natural gas drilling project in southwest Wyoming, just weeks after the conclusion of a troubling wintertime ozone season in which the the region's air quality ranked among the nation's worst.
Calgary, Alberta-based Encana Oil & Gas USA plans to drill as many as 3,500 natural gas wells on nearly 141,000 acres of BLM land in Sublette County. If approved, the "Normally Pressurized Lance" project, or NPL, would be among the nation's largest natural gas fields, producing trillions of cubic feet of gas over 50 years and creating about 800 new jobs.
The project would essentially quadruple the size of the existing Jonah Infill field -- already one of the largest gas fields in the continental United States -- and more than double the 1,200 wells in place there today.
BLM last month began developing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project that should be completed in early 2013. The public scoping period for the EIS ends today.
"NPL is a very significant natural gas resource," said Randy Teeuwen, Encana's Denver-based community relations adviser. "Once drilled, those wells will go for 40 years or more."