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Western Niobrara County in oil hotspot?

Posted: Thursday, Sep 27th, 2012

CASPER - National land management officials and oil companies alike are keeping an eye on the western portion of Niobrara County.

Small portions of the west side of the county are part of an area covered in three environmental assessments recently released by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM assessed the area for proposed exploratory oil and gas development.

The BLM released reports detailing three areas of eastern Wyoming, mainly in Converse and small portions of Niobrara County: The Spearhead Ranch, Highland Loop Road and East Converse. The portions of Niobrara County assessed fall into the East Converse report.

Between the three assessed areas, the BLM stated, there could be as many as 444 new oil and gas wells in Converse and Niobrara County.

According to a release from the Casper BLM office, between 18 and 72 new horizontal and vertical oil and gas wells could be drilled in the East Converse area, which encompasses approximately 196 contiguous miles (or about 125,000 acres) between western Niobrara and eastern Converse counties. The BLM states just less than 160 oil and gas wells have been drilled, are producing or have been plugged and abandoned in the Eastern Converse project area.

The environmental assessments detail the impacts of the proposed exploration and alternatives. The BLM has opened a comment period Sept. 17 through Oct. 17 in which the public can review and comment on the assessments, which can be found at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/cfodocs.html.

Comments can be written to the Assistant Field Manager Minerals and Lands, BLM Casper Office, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, Wyo. 82609, or emailed to casper_wymail@blm.gov. When emailing, The BLM asks commenters to include “Converse County EAs” in the subject line.

For more information, contact BLM Assistant Field Manager Patrick Moore at 307-261-7600.

As of Friday, according to records from the Wyoming OIl and Gas Conservation Commission, there are 13 permits for horizontal wells in Niobrara County. This stands in stark contrast to that of Converse County’s horizontal well activity; there are currently 441 horizontal permits in Converse. Four companies hold permits in Niobrara County: Chesapeake Operating, Inc. , Fossil Creek Resources, LLC, Cinco Natural Resources Corporation and Yates Petroleum Corporation.

For the complete article see the 09-26-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-26-2012 paper.

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