U.S. approves major Utah natural gas plans

May 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY, May 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. government announced it approved plans to develop natural gas in Utah's Uinta Basin with more than 3,600 wells.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced he signed a record of decision for the Greater Natural Buttes project proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Salazar, in his consent, approved the development of 3,675 natural gas wells in an existing gas producing area in Uintah County.

The project area covers more than 160,000 acres, though the Interior Department said about 8,100 new acres would be disturbed through the 10-year development period.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said the decision to approve the gas development came through a collaborative consultation period "that resulted in a balanced approach to energy production and environmental protection that will boost America's energy economy."

Anadarko aims to spend about $10 billion on the development in an effort to double natural gas production to around 1 billion cubic feet per day during the next decade.

The United States holds some of the richest deposits of natural gas in the world. The Interior Department said domestic natural gas production increased by more than 7 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year.

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