‘No excuse for 40- to 80-acre well spacing,’ says BCA
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance responds to EnCana Jonah well proposal
February 27, 2008
Editor’s Note: The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (BAC) out of Laramie, Wyoming, promptly issued this media release in response to this morning’s notice from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking comments on EnCana’s proposal to drill 85 new natural gas wells south of the Jonah Field.
EnCana Proposes New Field Next to Jonah
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, February 27, 2008
Canadian gas giant EnCana is now proposing a further expansion of the Jonah Field, seeking approval of an additional 85 wells to be located in a new area southwest of the Jonah Field in a project cryptically named the "Normally Pressured Lance Project." Well densities would range from eight to sixteen per square mile, the same density as the original Jonah project before the massive infill was approved. The project area spreads across approximately 70,000 acres of public land, including important sage grouse habitats and pronghorn migration areas.
"Here we go again," said Suzanne Lewis of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance. "When the Jonah Field hit sixteen wells per square mile, it became the poster child for excessively dense drilling. Of course, it has gotten even worse from there."
In approving the original Jonah Field expansion, the BLM argued that the area affected would be limited to 33,000 acres.
"The conservation community explicitly asked the BLM during the Jonah Field analysis what was going to happen if this kind of developments started spreading more broadly throughout the Upper Green River Valley, and now it is," added Lewis. "There's no guarantee that EnCana won't be coming back in a few years and asking for thousands of new wells to pave over this new development with wellsites, just like they did in Jonah."
In the Jonah Field, BP's wells are drilled directionally and are clustered many wells to a pad, while most of EnCana's wells are old-fashioned vertical wells, which maximize the destruction of land area in a given field.
"There's no excuse for allowing wells to be drilled at 40- to 80-acre spacing, with up to 16 wells per square mile, when the same gas could readily be recovered with a maximum of one wellpad per square mile," concluded Lewis. "At the very least, BLM should be requiring this level of stewardship to protect sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitats as well as pronghorn migration corridors."
Contact: Suzanne Lewis, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, (307) 742-7978