CASPER, Wyo. — A 5,000-well oil and gas project is being proposed for central Wyoming that would cover 1.5 million acres (0.61 million hectares).

Five major oil and gas companies proposed the joint project just north of Interstate 25 between Glenrock and Douglas in Converse County. The drilling would occur over a period of 10 years, and each proposed well is expected to last about 30 years, according to the environmental study released by the Bureau of Land Management.

Anadarko Resources, Chesapeake Energy, EOG Resources, SM Energy and Devon Energy are the partners on the proposal first made in 2014 before the oil sector busted.

The BLM anticipates the project will generate more than 8,000 jobs and between $18 billion and $28 billion in revenue, the Casper Star-Tribune reported .

“(The environmental study) has been an ongoing effort for several years,” said Jennifer Brice, a spokeswoman for Anadarko.

The project, and the federal study, will allow a collaborative approach to development in the region, Brice said.

About 90 percent of the land in the project is private or state owned. Only about 6 percent of the project’s 1,500 well pads will be built on BLM land. The remainder is on the U.S Forest Service-managed Thunder Basin National Grasslands.

The BLM owns more than 60 percent of the minerals to be tapped.

The environmental study notes that the proposal calls for year-round development and exemptions to operate in sage grouse and raptor habitat. Of the 53,000 acres (2,1448 million hectares) directly disturbed for pipelines, roads and pads, about 21,000 acres (8,500 hectares) may be disturbed for the full life of the project.

Some are looking at the proposed development with concern.

“I don’t think we’ve seen this scale of drilling,” said Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a landowners advocacy group based in Sheridan. “It’s going to be a new, big scale on the landscape. If they don’t do it with a lot of care, it’s going to have some very long-term impacts.”

Morrison’s concerns include water resources to feed this level of drilling activity, and the proper disposal of waste water, as well as air quality impacts and wildlife habitat fragmentation.

Public comment is open until March 12.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com