Questar Proposal gets conditional support from Governor
Questar requests to perform year-round drilling in the Pinedale Anticline
by Office of the Governor news release
August 3, 2004
According to a news release from the State of Wyoming Office of the Governor on Monday, August 2, Governor Dave Freudenthal conditionally endorsed a proposal by Questar Corp. to perform year-round drilling in the Pinedale Anticline. Governor Freudenthal’s support is contingent upon strong measures to reduce the impact of the development to the area’s residents, air, wildlife and water. With the safeguards offered by Questar, and additional measures suggested by the governor, the proposal could prove to be a good model for future oil and gas development, Freudenthal said Monday.
Governor Freudenthal offered his tentative support for the plan in a letter Monday to Prill Mecham, Pinedale field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. "If everything goes smoothly as this proposal makes its way forward, it could prove to be a model for cooperation between the state and a company resulting in benefits for both," the governor said. "With the state’s recommendations, we could end up with year-round drilling that actually improves the current conditions through the elimination of disturbances and improvements in habitat."
Questar’s proposal includes a move to directional drilling, which would reduce impacts on soil, wildlife, water and air resources. The company would limit its drilling footprint to 9 percent of the total authorized under the Pinedale Anticline environmental impact statement (EIS) record of decision. Questar would also pipe condensate and water from the drill pads instead of trucking it from the field, reducing the impact of development.
Among the governor’s "caveats" are that Questar commits to flareless completions, or completions without the raw flame that burns off methane and helps get natural gas flowing; habitat improvement to approximately 1,650 acres; and accommodations for the permittees that would be affected by the habitat mitigation.
"With the caveats noted in this letter, I believe the proposal is a good model," the governor wrote. "It significantly reduces impacts to air, water, wildlife, cultural interests, vegetation and communities, while still meeting the economic needs of the project proponent." Freudenthal said crucial winter range, sage grouse habitat and air quality are three of the primary unresolved conflicts in Questar’s scoping notice proposal. State agencies have developed additional mitigation and monitoring requirements that would likely eliminate unresolved conflicts, as well as provide monitoring to see how well the implemented actions work.