Oil and Gas Companies: No Imminent Plans for Moneta Divide Development
Despite the potential to drill as many as 4,000 wells, oil and gas leaseholders have no immediate plans to develop the Moneta Divide field in Fremont County and parts of Natrona County.
"There is a significant quantity of natural gas in Moneta Divide," Aethon Energy, the primary company involved in the field, said through a spokesperson. "Development of this resource will potentially require thousands of wells to be drilled, creating numerous jobs.
"The pace of the drilling program will depend on many factors, including the price of natural gas. Currently, Aethon does not have any immediate plans to conduct a large scale drilling program."
Conoco Phillips subsidiary, Burlington Resources, also showed hesitation for immediate long-term development.
"The company has the potential to drill up to 150 new wells as a part of the project, but our acreage is primarily dry gas and at current commodity prices, is unlikely to compete for funding in our portfolio," the company said.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Public Information Specialist Brad Purdy said it's not uncommon for companies to delay development on a project after it's approved.
Currently, the BLM is taking public comment on environmental impacts of the proposed project through July 18.
"It's up to [the companies] when they start development," Purdy said. "BLM can't really force a company to start development on this day or that day. It's whatever makes sense [to the company]."
Should regulators approve the Moneta Divide project in Fremont, Natrona and Sweetwater Counties,6,407 people could be put to work over the project's anticipated 65-year lifespan, according to a BLM report.
Of those positions, 742 would be directly related to production such as rig hands and operators. An additional 1,625 indirect jobs — administrative and support-type jobs — could be created. Lastly, the BLM projects 4,040 induced jobs as a result of the project.
Induced jobs include occupations that are created as a result of workers spending their money, such as additional hospitality staff.