Regulatory Framework for 80-acre Development Created in the Greater Wamsutter Development Area
The Greater Wamsutter Development Area, located in portions of Carbon and Sweetwater Counties, Wyoming was initially developed in the 1970's and 1980's on 640-acre spacing. Beginning in the early 1990's and continuing through the late 1990's infill drilling had resulted in a significant portion of the area being developed on a 160-acre well density, with wells located in the approximate center of governmental quarter sections. In 2002 the first 80-acre density wells were drilled. As industry moved towards possible 80-acre development it became apparent that previous development was inconsistent with a traditional 80-acre pattern.
BP recognized that there was an opportunity to work with industry and the agencies to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework, as opposed to the historical development by exception. Project objectives included recognition that 80-acre development be optional, that the regulatory changes be equitable, did not disrupt existing equity or contractual relationships and honored the technical data. To this end BP invited the four companies that were actively pursuing 80-acre development to participate in a cooperative effort to identify and pursue the appropriate regulatory changes. In addition, actions were undertaken to secure input from other industry members as well as the regulatory agencies. The final recommendations of the working group addressed 80-acre development in existing spaced lands, unspaced lands and within Federal Exploratory Units. As of February 2005, the regulatory changes have been approved by the WOGCC and the area is now positioned to accommodate 80-acre development.