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Pinedale Online > News > September 2005 > Hoback Gas Well Project

Drill rig. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Drill rig
The Bridger-Teton National Forest is allowing drilling in the northern Wyoming Range and Hoback River drainage on the Big Piney Ranger District.

Eagle 1-8. Photo by .
Eagle 1-8

Hoback Bison. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Hoback Bison
Bison graze in the Hoback River Valley-Noble Basin.

Upper Hoback River. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Upper Hoback River

Horse Creek Road. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Horse Creek Road
Traffic plans are to route access via the Horse Creek Road west of Daniel Junction.
Hoback Gas Well Project
Notice of Staking just first step in the process
by Dawn Ballou
September 23, 2005

Plains Exploration and Production Company, out of Houston, Texas, filed a Notice of Staking with the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) on September 8, 2005 for plans to do a wildcat well in the Noble Basin near the Hoback River, south of Bondurant.

The Big Piney Ranger District made the Notice public earlier this week and posted it on the BTNF website. Three gas wells, and several sections of new road construction, are proposed for the drill site project.

According to the Big Piney Ranger District, the Notice of Staking is just the first step in the process to notify the government and public the operator has plans to start activity on the lease.

The next step in the process is for the District to set up a meeting with the operator within a month to reply to the Notice. District personnel plan to meet with the operator in early October. The Forest Service will then start work on a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document to study environmental impacts for the project.

Studies for the NEPA document will be conducted through the 2006 field season. The document will either be an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if there are more significant resource issues identified to be analyzed. This document is done by a third party contractor, approved by the Forest Service, but technically paid for by the operator. Public input will be included as a part of the NEPA document process. The final report will likely be available sometime next fall or winter, after field work is completed in 2006. Some field work for the project was already done this past summer by District personnel, who were made aware of the wildcat well project in June.

After the NEPA document is completed, an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) must be approved by the Bureau of Land Management, which controls federal mineral resources even though they are located on National Forest land. The APD includes a recommendation by the Forest Service about the project, based on their NEPA analysis.

According to maps in the Notice of Staking, Plains Exploration plans to access this well site using the Horse Creek Road #354 from the Daniel Junction to Merna, over Beaver Ridge on Road #10359, up North Beaver Creek Road #10143, then over South Rim on Road #30748 to the Coyote Gulch/Muddy Creek drainages.

The proposed wells are within two miles of private land to the east in the Fisherman Creek drainage and three miles from private land to the west along the Hoback River.

Road access will direct well activity traffic past many ranches, the new Rendezvous Ridge subdivision, through the Jim Bridger Estates on Beaver Rim, by the Aspen Ridge subdivision, and past Buck Baker's corner before reaching National Forest land in the South Beaver Creek drainage.

A PDF of the Notice of Staking, which includes several maps and diagrams related to the project, is available from the Bridger-Teton National Forest website at: Plains Exploration and Production Co. Eagle #1-8 Notice of Staking

This is the first official Notice of Staking for the Noble Basin/Hoback River area that the Big Piney Ranger District has received this summer, however other operators have indicated an interest in the Kilgore Creek drainage on the west side of the Hoback River.

New leasing activity in the Wyoming Range was put on hold by BTNF Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton last year after considerable public concern was raised about new drilling in the Wyoming Range. The Forest addressed the issues and concerns and lifted the drilling hold last spring, according to the Big Piney District.

Other Drilling Lease plans for the Wyoming Range
The Bridger-Teton National Forest has green-lighted leasing permits in the Hoback River basin, the South Rim Area, Beaver/Horse Creek drainages, North Cottonwood Creek, South Cottonwood Creek and South Piney Creek, which will be made available by the BLM at their lease sale this coming October.

For more information
Anyone who would like to be kept informed about developments in this particular project, or any other project on the Big Piney Ranger District, can contact the District to be put on the project mailing list. Contact Teresa Trulock, or Big Piney District Ranger Greg Clark, at the district office at 315 S. Front Street (Hwy 189), PO Box 218, Big Piney, WY 83113, 307-276-3375.

Beaver Creek Road. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Beaver Creek Road
Gas activity access plans are to route traffic on the Beaver Creek road over Beaver Ridge and Horse Creek Road.

ATVs and antelope. Photo by Pinedale Online.
ATVs and antelope
ATV-ers and snowmobilers use the back roads in the Beaver and Horse Creek drainages.

Aspen Ridge. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Aspen Ridge
Gas activity traffic will go past the Aspen Ridge subdivision in the Beaver Creek valley.

Jim Bridger Estates. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Jim Bridger Estates
Traffic plans route gas activity through Jim Bridger Estates on Beaver Ridge.

Hoback Ranches. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Hoback Ranches
National Forest land west of Hoback Ranches has been reopened to mineral leasing.

Rendeavous Ridge. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Rendeavous Ridge
Natural gas well activity traffic will go past the new Rendezvous Ridge subdivision near the Horse Creek Road-Hwy 191 junction.

Antelope in Beaver Creek Valley. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Antelope in Beaver Creek Valley

Merna. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Well activity traffic will be routed by Merna on the Horse Creek Road.

Fort Bonneville. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Fort Bonneville
The Fort Bonneville historic site is on the planned road access for new gas well leasing in the northern Wyoming Range.

Local Ranches. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Local Ranches
Gas well traffic will go by long-time ranches along the Horse Creek Road.

Hay Meadows. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Hay Meadows
Hay barns are stacked full of hay for the winter.

Merna Windmill. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Merna Windmill
Windmills pump water to stock tanks in pastures in the Merna area.

Bison in the Hoback Valley. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Bison in the Hoback Valley

Old Ranching History. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Old Ranching History
Old hay stacker in a pasture along the Beaver Rim Road is a remnant of ranching days gone by.

Homestead buildings. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Homestead buildings
Remnants of old homestead buildings sit at the junction of the Merna-Beaver Rim roads.

Kilgore Creek. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Kilgore Creek
Gas well activity may begin in the Kilgore Creek drainage of the Hoback River in Noble Basin.

Strawberry Ridge. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Strawberry Ridge
Mineral leasing has been reopened in the northern Wyoming Range on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Horse Creek Well Leasing. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Horse Creek Well Leasing
Mineral leases are being allowed in the Horse Creek drainage of the northern Wyoming Range on the Big Piney Ranger District of the Bridger Teton National Forest.
Pinedale Online > News > September 2005 > Hoback Gas Well Project

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