SUBLETTE COUNTY – Instead of meeting in person or via video, Pinedale Anticline operators submitted their annual updates and planning forecasts for 2021 to the Bureau of Land Management, opening a comment period through May 15.
Three Pinedale Anticline Project Area operators submitted their reports to the Pinedale Field Office, mainly as PowerPoints earlier this month, and are posted online for public review.
The three are UP Energy (Ultra), Pinedale Energy Partners Operating and Jonah Energy. Each report looks at 2020, 2021 and into the future.
Ultra also submitted an air-quality update for the Jonah Pinedale Industry Collaboration, which kicked off in May 2019 with Jonah, Ultra, PEPO, Anticline Disposal and MPLX LP, a Marathon Petroleum partnership.
In 2020, Ultra did not drill any wells or build any well pads. There were 2,261 producing wells in the Anticline at the end of 2020.
In 2021, Ultra plans to use 1.3 drilling rigs to develop 27 wells in Development Area 3 and 16 wells in DA 5. Two new pads will be built. There are no plans at this time to drill wells in 2022.
“Ultra is always evaluating conditions and hopes to return to drilling when economically feasible,” the report says.
Ultra and PEPO jointly submitted an air-quality update on April 15. Their mitigation measures include pneumatic pump emissions rerouted for use as fuel, solar heat trace pumps, leak detection and repair, fugitive emission monitoring, liquids gathering system, Tier III and IV engines and some conversion to electricity.
The update notes, “Not all measures (are) implemented by all companies.”
In 2020, Ultra used no fresh water for drilling or completions, reporting its total fresh water use of 53,258 barrels (bbls), less than 10 percent of 2019. Almost two-thirds was for construction and another third for production, with some for stock water.
Less produced water (14.45 million barrels) was created; none was recycled and it was injected for disposal.
Last year, four more Ultra pads with 53 acres were placed in interim reclamation. Seed mixes of grass, forbs and shrubs were hand-strewn or drilled. Temporary electric fences were placed around seven pads, wildlife-friendly fence around three pads. Cheatgrass was treated on 40 pads by hand or herbicide – Ultra will continue to “combat cheatgrass and county-designated weeds.”
This year, three pads move to interim reclamation status. To date, 237 pads are interim-reclaimed with 25 well pads “final.”
Pinedale Energy Partners Operating did not drill in 2020, completing four wells in the first quarter. The operator has 1,208 producing wells on 82 well pads.
This year, “if business metrics are met,” one pad will expand in the third quarter. From the fourth quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 22, a single rig will drill 13 wells, and 13 wells will be completed.
“If business metrics are not met: no activity,” according to PEPO.
The 10-year forecast anticipates 64 more wells drilled and about one pad a year through the decade.
PEPO used 97,500 bbls of fresh water in 2020, down 51 percent. It reduced freshwater use for completions to 5,000 bbls or 5 percent of the total. Most went for stock water, which increased 681 percent to 92,500 bbls.
Recycled water made up 96 percent of completion water. Of 4.9 million bbls of produced water, 30 percent was injected in six PEPO wells and 70 percent was piped to Anticline Disposal.
PEPO did not implement any well-pad reclamation in 2020, using the year to determine long-term topsoil storage, develop a seed mix and plan the area to reclaim, its report says. In 2021, PEPO will re-contour the area, spread topsoil and drill grass, forb and shrub seeds.
Of 17 sites monitored for quantity, 16 met grass counts of at least two bunchgrasses and one rhizome grass. Sixteen met 75 percent of total cover compared to the native reference sites. Sixteen had less than 25 percent of bare ground. Five met forb counts equal to the reference site. None met the 75-percent forb frequency of the reference site.
PEPO “actively manages weeds” with mechanical removal and herbicide sprays. Cheatgrass is pulled at newly planted sites to protect new growth and grubbed or sprayed on older sites.
Last year, Jonah drilled one well from the Jonah Field with a final bottom hole in the Pinedale Anticline.
This year, Jonah plans to drill four new wells and from 2022 to 2030, to drill eight wells a year from existing pads and four new pads.
To reduce emissions, last year Jonah replaced uncontrolled produced water tanks with ones “that route vapors to existing enclosed combustors at eight central delivery points” in DA5.
It moved to drilling rigs with lower emissions – powered by diesel with selective catalytic reduction or natural gas.
Future wells will tie to existing production equipment and be built on existing pads when possible. In DA5, they will tie into the liquid gathering system.
In 2020, Jonah used no fresh water for drillings or completion but in 2021 its four new wells will need fresh water. Produced water totaling 248,885 bbls came from 35 producing wells; it was injected into disposal wells.
Twenty-six well pads are in reclamation with one added this year Jonah monitors all pad locations every year and has “multipronged aggressive cheatgrass control” that uses chemical and mechanical methods.
The Jonah Pinedale Industry Collaborative members make monthly calls to share information, technology and ozone actions. The group piloted a project to replace pneumatic heat trace pumps with solar and is piloting fixed emission monitoring to improve its program. It also installed a submerged combustion heater and dewatering pit at the water-handling facility.
All of the PAPO updates and forecasts, with operators’ contact information, are posted at https://www.blm.gov/wyoming/jio-papo/papo.