Oil and Gas Exploration and Development


Oil and Gas RigDrilling applications in Utah have increased by approximately 250 percent over the last five years compared to the previous five-year period (last year, 1,000 APDs were processed statewide). The BLM Vernal Field Office has seen the brunt of these increases as the office with largest conventional (non-coalbed methane) APD workload in the Bureau. Last year, the office processed about 900 drilling permits and this year they expect to process 1,400. 

The Price Field Office has also seen additional workload. In addition to its longstanding coal-bed natural gas development area, the office is currently conducting an environmental analysis for a 750 well, deep-gas project centered on the West Tavaputs Plateau. APD workload has also grown; collectively Price, Monticello and Moab approved 90 APDs in FY 06. 

A prolific oil discovery has been found in the Central -Utah Overthrust area, and as a result the Richfield Field Office has more energy related workload than before .  The technical and administrative portions of permit work for the "westside" of the state for oil, gas and geothermal is currently handled by Utah State Office.

Geophysical (or seismic surveying) projects have also increased significantly. With the advent of new 3-D technology, companies are able to tap into more complex oil and gas formations and at greater depths. Statewide about a dozen seismic surveying projects are undergoing environmental reviews. Vernal, Moab and the Richfield Field Offices have seen the most interest. In the Richfield Field Office alone, five geophysical projects have been completed in the last two years, with an additional six projects pending or underway by six different companies.

More information on specific projects can be found on Utah's Environmental Notification Bulletin Board (ENBB), which lists all projects being reviewed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To access the ENBB see "NEPA" under Programs on the left hand navigation.