Update on the Pinedale Anticline
Representatives from Shell, Ultra Petroleum and QEP Energy give updates
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
December 13, 2012
Representatives from Shell, Ultra Petroleum (UP) and QEP Energy met with Pinedale Online on Tuesday, December 11th to give an update on their operations in the Pinedale Anticline. Cally McKee with UP, Carolyn Tucker with Shell Oil, and Lynn Welker and Kevin Williams with QEP Resources Inc. attended. Ultra, Shell and QEP are gearing up for the 2013 ozone season – ozone contingency plans are in place, staff training has been completed, all drilling rigs on the Anticline are equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction equipment to reduce NOx and Sox emissions. Natural gas field operator’s ozone contingency plans are due into the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality by December 15th.
Cally McKee, Senior Regulatory Coordinator for Ultra Petroleum, said UP has their ozone mitigation plans in place. Based on recommendations from the Ozone Task Force, it is anticipated there will also likely be a broader push for who needs contingency plans in the Upper Green River Valley, to include city and county government operations. Education campaigns during the ozone season will help inform the public on ways everyone can help reduce ozone-creating emissions. Should elevated ozone levels occur, the public will also be asked to help in taking contingency actions, such as not leaving vehicles idling unnecessarily. The company, and employees on the ground, are always mindful of finding ways to do things in a cleaner way and upgrade any older equipment to become more environmentally friendly. McKee said that Ultra has two rigs currently operating, which they intend to keep in the field. Their rigs all have ozone reducing equipment in place. They plan to ‘stay the course’ and wait for gas prices to come up to adjust their operations. UP doesn’t anticipate any changes for the short or long-term to their Sublette County workforce for their production operations in the near future. They still have 900 wells to operate and keep running. Regarding the recent announced sale of UP assets in the Pinedale Anticline to Pinedale Corridor LP, McKee said UP will still be operating within this new arrangement and there will be no visible difference on the ground for their operations.
QEP Resources Inc.
According to QEP representative Lynn Welker, Stakeholder Relations Advisor, and Kevin Williams, District Manager for Pinedale Anticline operations, QEP Resources currently has, and plans to keep, four rigs working in the Pinedale Anticline. They have around 40 employees in Sublette County and do not anticipate changing their local workforce numbers for the short or long-term. They are still drilling wells, but not at the rate as in the past. They are continuing their production operations. They also will adjust their Pinedale Anticline operations as market demand for natural gas allows. They have converted some of their vehicle fleet to operate on natural gas fuel, hoping this becomes a local and national trend for more vehicles to take advantage of cheaper and cleaner natural gas as a fuel source. QEP is once again offering a $20,000 scholarship to a Wyoming senior who pursues a degree related to the natural gas industry. The $20,000 is spread out over four years and the recipient has the potential of moving into an internship with QEP upon completion of their schoolwork. Students can expect to see more information about the scholarship come out in January. QEP recently built a new office building south of Pinedale, strengthening their commitment to a strong presence in the Pinedale community and Pinedale Anticline gas field. Lastly, QEP is working on plans to construct a new 4-H Agricultural Center on land they donated just south of their new office building. Sublette County 4-H youth, including those who live on properties with restrictions that don't allow livestock, will be able to participate in livestock and agricultural education programs at the preserve. QEP's donation will also include the construction of a pole barn which will be completed in 2013.
Shell Oil Company
Carolyn Tucker, CX UA Business Advisor for Shell Oil, the company currently has no rigs running in the Pinedale Anticline. They released all their drilling rigs in May, 2012. Shell has about 90 employees working in the Pinedale Anticline and doesn’t foresee changing that employee base number in the near future. They are doing some selective completions to bring some new gas online, but not drilling any new wells until they see some movement in the natural gas market. Increased natural gas demand and usage typically happens in the winter heating or summer air-conditioning seasons.
The companies plan to hold their next "Let’s Talk" meeting on Tuesday, February 19th from 5-7 PM in Pinedale (location TBA). These sessions are an opportunity for members of the public to come talk to representatives from all three companies about their operations in the Pinedale Anticline and bring forward any concerns or questions.
More information about these three companies and their activities on the Pinedale Anticline can be found online at this website: http://www.papaoperators.com