CBM Resource Development in Ecologically Sensitive
Park Ranch, New Mexico -- A Case Study
Vermejo Park Ranch (VPR) is a 588,00 acre privately owned ranch located in Northeastern New Mexicos Raton
Basin. VPR is a premier
hunting and fishing destination and working bison ranch, with a highly diverse
range of ecological environments. Coal Bed Methane resource development is
being conducted under a unique partnership between the Surface Estate Owner and
Mineral Estate Owner (El Paso Corporation). The parties are in the 4th year of
a planned 8 year development program with 511 wells on production through 2004.
The Raton Basin
is a Laramide-age strucural
basin on the eastern side of the Sangre
de Cristo Mountains. Coal Bed Methane is
produced from Late Cretaceous (Vermejo) to Early
Paleocene (Raton) Formations.
Vermejo and El
Paso have voluntarily entered into an agreement that
governs how CBM resource development operations proceed on the Ranch, the
Mineral Extraction Agreement (MEA). This agreement is unique in the industry
and provides the guidelines, checks, balances, and requirements for CBM
development. It also provides a framework for VPR's
environmental staff to work closely with the operators
development staff. MEA specifics will be presented and discussed.
Using GIS and GPS technologies, satellite imagery, and
wildlife/forestry management tools, the development phase of the project is
being completed in such a manner as to minimize both short and long term
adverse effects to VPR resources and values, while allowing for the efficient
development and production of coalbed methane gas.