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Release Date: 03/23/12
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

BLM seeks comments on the SG Interests’ Bull Mountain Unit Master Development Plan (03-23-12)

MONTROSE, Colo. – Today, the Bureau of Land Management released a draft Environmental Assessment on a proposed Master Development Plan for natural gas exploration by SG Interests. 

The plan includes developing up to 146 natural gas wells (about 50 percent shale gas and 50 percent coalbed natural gas), four water disposal wells and associated infrastructure on federal and private mineral leases within a federally-unitized area known as the Bull Mountain Unit (about 19,645 acres) north of the Paonia Reservoir State Park.

SG Interests began leasing minerals in the Bull Mountain Unit in 2000.  The company currently owns and operates 11 private and five federal natural gas wells on 13 well pads along with one water disposal well occupying about 22 acres in the unit. The wells were developed at an average of two per year for the past six years. 

“Instead of structuring the development of the federal leases as a series of individual actions as was the case with the initial 13 well pads, the BLM encourages the use of multi-well development plans to manage federal lease development more effectively,” said Barb Sharrow, BLM Uncompahgre Field Office manager. “Additionally, the MDP under federal unitization allows for placement of wells within the unit in a logical fashion without regard to setbacks from committed lease lines in order to minimize road development, pipelines and other surface impacts.”

Every federal action proposed within the Bull Mountain Unit would still require site-specific analysis in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before exploration or development can occur.

“An approved MDP provides an environmental analysis in which subsequent Applications for Permit to Drill and NEPA efforts would be tiered,” said Sharrow. “Approval is also subject to onsite examinations of each proposed well, pipeline and road location including current cultural and biological resource surveys.”

The BLM would apply appropriate mitigation and best management practices to all permitted actions in accordance with federal and state oil and gas regulations and the Uncompahgre Basin Resource Management Plan.

Although actual operations are subject to change as conditions warrant, SG Interest plans to drill 27 wells per year until the resource is fully developed in just less than six years. Once completed, the productive life of coalbed natural gas, shale gas and water disposal wells is estimated to be 40 years, which is the production phase of the project.

To review the environmental documents associated with the MDP, go to  Written comments regarding the Environmental Assessment must be submitted by the close of business on Tuesday, Apr. 24, to the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office, Attn:  3160 BMMDP, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401, fax 970-240-5368 or email to

Please note that comments and information submitted regarding this project, including email addresses and street addresses of respondents, will be available for public review and disclosure.  Individual respondents may request confidentiality.  If you wish to withhold your name, e-mail address, or street address from public view or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your written comment.  Such requests will be honored to the extent allowed by the law.  All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 03-23-2012