Link to BLM's BMP Website
Contact: Ruth McCoard, 202-452-5068
BLM Recognizes Three Oil and Gas Operators
for Reducing Energy “Footprint” on Public Lands
Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Luke Johnson today announced the winners of the BLM’s 2008 awards for leadership and creativity in reducing the footprint of natural gas, oil, and geothermal energy development on public lands.
Three operators were honored for their use of environmental best management practices (BMPs), which help achieve safe, environmentally responsible resource development, by preventing, avoiding, or mitigating adverse environmental or social impacts. Representatives of the companies accepted their awards at the BLM’s annual National Fluid Minerals Conference, being held this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Best management practices such as those we recognize with these awards make public lands showcases for responsible energy development,” Johnson said. “These operators are the BLM’s leading partners in providing for responsible, sustainable and efficient development of the nation’s oil and gas resources at a time when these resources are needed more than ever.”
BP America Production Company and Devon Energy Corporation were recognized for their technology-based holistic approaches to oil and gas development.
On leases in the Wamsutter natural gas field in south-central Wyoming, BP America drilled multiple wells on single pads and located centralized production facilities outside of critical wildlife habitat. The company also retrofitted existing drilling rigs with cleaner engines and incorporated “green” completions into drilling operations to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Science-based pilot reclamation projects and an industry workshop with the BLM Rawlins Field Office promoted reductions in surface disturbance through improved reclamation practices.
Devon Energy Corporation is implementing BMPs on leases in the New Mexico portions of the San Juan and Permian Basins. Habitat for the lesser prairie chicken and sand dune lizard has been restored on old, abandoned operations in the Permian Basin, while monetary contributions have supported trout habitat restoration in the San Juan Basin. Devon also drills multiple wells from single pads while conducting intensive interim reclamation. Air quality impacts in the San Juan Basin are reduced by using “green” completions during drilling and low-emission compressors and solar-powered pumps on various production equipment.
Questar Exploration and Production was recognized for a trail-breaking project that will reduce the long-term impacts of development. In the Pinedale Anticline of western Wyoming, Questar is using a sophisticated liquid-gathering system to significantly reduce the amount of truck traffic and well site production equipment in the field. The company also reduced the footprint of its operations by directionally drilling multiple wells from single well pads.
Johnson noted how directional and multiple-well/single-pad drilling have caught on in recent years and are becoming standard operating procedure. “These technologies are an example of how a responsible environmental practice can also be a sound business practice,” he said. “Everyone wins when the kinds of practices that we recognize with these awards are widely adopted. American families and businesses are the ultimate beneficiaries when their energy needs are met from secure, domestic sources with assurances that the operations are being conducted to meet the highest environmental standards.”
The BLM has presented the BMP Awards annually since 2006. Regulatory authorities, surface management agencies, Indian tribes or individual tribal landowners, other private landowners, trade organizations, or members of the general public may nominate operators. Operators may also nominate themselves or other companies. A panel composed of representatives of the BLM, industry and conservation groups evaluates the nominations.
Environmental BMPs are innovative, dynamic, economically feasible mitigation measures that reduce, prevent, or avoid adverse environmental impacts of energy development. Minimizing the area of disturbance, adjusting the location of facilities, and utilizing other site-specific techniques reduces impacts to wildlife habitat, scenic quality, and other environmental resources on public lands and in adjacent areas while also reducing conflicts among various users of the public lands.
The BLM manages more land – 258 million acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.