BLM approves major gas well development in Utah
(Platts; June 18) - The Bureau of Land Management announced June 18 the approval of a natural gas development project in an environmentally sensitive region of Utah's Uinta Basin, which is expected to result in the drilling of almost 1,300 new wells over 15 years. The record of decision on the environmental impact statement for the Gasco Uinta Basin Gas Development near Desolation Canyon could result in the production of almost 3 trillion cubic feet of gas over the next several decades, the BLM said.
Under the approved plan, which includes a number of measures to protect sensitive areas, the company will conduct no drilling nor build anything in or near Desolation Canyon. The final plan includes measures to reduce surface disturbance, eliminate floodplain impacts, protect the viewshed and reduce effects to water, soil and air quality. Under the final plan 94% of the water used for the project will be treated and recycled production water, and a water-monitoring plan will address all water-quality impacts.
The original development plan proposed by Colorado-based Gasco Energy had called for nearly 1,500 gas wells and the same number of well pads, with a total disturbance area of 7,533 acres, including well pads in Nine Mile Canyon north of Desolation Canyon. As approved, the plan allows a maximum of 1,298 wells to be drilled from no more than 575 pads. The plan reduces the expected surface disturbance by one-half, to 3,600 acres, about 2 percent of the total development area of 206,826 acres.