Simulation of Coalbed Methane Drilling
On the Atlantic Rim of Central Wyoming

September 2007

SkyTruth (www.skytruth.org) simulated the results of drilling for coalbed methane (CBM) in the Atlantic Rim project area of central Wyoming, located on the western flank of the Sierra Madre Mountains south of the city of Rawlins.  The simulation is based on information provided by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the preferred development alternative they describe in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).  This alternative permits the drilling of 1,800 CBM wells and 200 other wells, at a well spacing as dense as one well location every 80 acres.  Drilling locations, called well pads, will be 2.25 acres in size.  Existing roads will be widened and resurfaced as necessary, and 1,000 miles of new roads constructed, to provide access to the wellpads.  The most intense development is expected along the western part of the project area, where the coal seams are deepest. 

SkyTruth created before-and-after pairs of images, showing what the area looks like now, and what it could be expected to look like when all of the wells have been drilled.  This simulation uses a Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite image that was taken in 2005.  For the drilling simulation, we placed a total of 1,925 well pads throughout the project area, with the closest spacing (80 acre) occurring along the western edge, corresponding with the areas of maximum predicted water production shown in the FEIS.  We digitized existing roads from the 1:100,000 scale USGS topographic maps for the area.  We kept most of these roads and added new roads, conformable with the rugged topography of this area, to provide a plausible access road network that compares with existing CBM developments in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

 

(Click on pictures to see the full size picture)
Northern end of the Atlantic Rim at present Northern end of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling

Northern end of the Atlantic Rim at present

Northern end of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling
Central part of the Atlantic Rim at present Central part of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling
Central part of the Atlantic Rim at present Central part of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling
Southern end of the Atlantic Rim at present Southern end of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling
Southern end of the Atlantic Rim at present Southern end of the Atlantic Rim after coalbed methane drilling
Atlantic Rim - before Atlantic Rim - simulation
North - before North - simulation
South - before South - simulation

Photographs of new Atlantic Rim Drilling Activities, September 2007.

Images courtesy Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, available for one-time use in news outlets.

New drilling in the Sun Dog developments of the Atlantic New wellpads under construction
New drilling in the Sun Dog developments of the Atlantic
Rim project
New wellpads under construction
Newly drilled coalbed methane well, Catalina Unit Truck traffic, Catalina unit
Newly drilled coalbed methane well, Catalina Unit Truck traffic, Catalina unit
Methane seep, Cow Creek, March 2007 Wild Cow Creek citizens' proposed wilderness, inside the Atlantic Rim project area
Methane seep, Cow Creek, March 2007 Wild Cow Creek citizens' proposed wilderness, inside the Atlantic Rim project area
  Drilling analysis images and maps are available for newspaper and internet news publication. Images by SkyTruth - www.skytruth.org
 
  Before After
 
  North - Before North - After
 
  South - Before South - After

 


 


Home | Alerts | News | Contact Us | Get Involved | Join BCA


Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
P.O. Box 1512, Laramie, WY 82073
(307) 742-7978 - carmi@voiceforthewild.org