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Wyoming - Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA)
In the Pinedale Anticline gas field, Shell is applying best practices for our operations. That includes implementing innovative technologies and working collaboratively to build effective relationships in Sublette County. Today on the Anticline, we have drilled more than 400 natural gas wells, operate on more than 21,000 acres and produce approximately 350 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Shell’s Pinedale Anticline leasehold is predominately federal minerals, underlying federal (Bureau of Land Management) surface.
The Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) is the 3rd largest gas field in the United Sates and provides vital energy for the country. The field is located in Sublette County’s Green River Valley south of Pinedale, Wyo. near a Class 1 Area that features world-class natural resources. It consists of 197,345 acres of federal, state and private lands: 157,719 surface acres (79.9 percent) belong to the Bureau of Land Management; 9,766 surfaces areas (5.0 percent) belong to the state of Wyoming; and 29,860 surface acres (15.1 percent) belong to private owners.
The PAPA contains natural gas estimates of up to 40 trillion cubic feet, with 20 – 25 trillion cubic feet of that recoverable—enough to supply 10 million homes for more than 30 years. The first well in the PAPA was drilled in the 1930s; regional energy development became economically viable in the early 2000s.
Energy development in the PAPA must be managed responsibly with respect to critical issues that include air quality management, water protection and wildlife and habitat conservation for significant migration corridors and species ranging from mule deer, antelope, sage-grouse and a number of raptors including bald eagles.
Applying best in class technology
- Using directional drilling and development on consolidated pads to reduce the number of road miles, truck traffic, habitat fragmentation and air emissions
- Installed catalyst technology ahead of schedule on all Shell contracted drilling rigs operating on the Pinedale Anticline to reduce Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions by >90%
- Using mobile flowback units to reduce flaring during completions by >90%
- Voluntarily created an alliance with Ultra and QEP Energy (formerly Questar) to offer a long-term management plan for the PAPA that allows for responsible development
- Voluntarily established the Pinedale Anticline Livestock & Agriculture Mitigation fund with Ultra and QEP Energy
- Established Pinedale Anticline Monitoring and Mitigation Fund; Total contribution with Ultra and QEP Energy will be $36 million
Reducing our Air Emissions
- Achieved an approximately 95% NOx from drill rigs and 63% Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) reduction field wide
- Reduced NOx emissions to below the threshold (2005 levels) required in the 2008 Pinedale Anticline Record of Decision (ROD) to meet our 1st visibility impairment reduction goal
- Implemented voluntary tank emission controls on older tanks that were not required to meet the current compliance standard
- Constructing liquids gathering system (LGS); eliminated 9 million miles of trucking so far
- Once complete, the LGS will eliminate an estimated 200 million miles of trucking and an associated 280,000 tons of CO2 during the life of the field
Protecting Water Resources
- Developed best management practice for groundwater well certification and management
- Gathering the water produced with the gas and reusing it in the hydraulic fracturing process to reduce our use of fresh water by more than 50%
Conserving Wildlife and Habitat
- Developing leases in core area with concentrated activities in the minimum amount of time to reduce habitat disturbance and expedite reclamation
- Plotting a new habitat seed mixture and application
- Contributed, with Ultra and QEP Energy, more than $4.9 million to study habitat and behaviors of mule deer, pronghorn and sage grouse
- Funded the Healthy Lands Initiative to study multiple use of natural resources in Wyoming
- Initiated two $1,000,000 funds: The Tom Thorne Sage Grouse Conservation Fund to fund sagebrush habitat improvement and sage grouse research projects; and The Upper Green River Sustainable Communities Endowment Fund to benefit the local communities into perpetuity