BLM accepting public comment on coal lease sale in Moffat, Rio Blanco counties

BLM awards oil shale RD&D leases to test heat extraction technologies

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The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comment on a coal lease application on land managed by the White River Field Office.

Blue Mountain Energy, Inc., which operates the Deserado Mine seven miles northeast of Rangely, submitted the application.

The land under consideration encompasses 3,157 acres of federal coal reserves located in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

The reserve is estimated to contain more than 21 million tons of coal.

A preliminary environmental assessment, which includes a summary of the proposal, may be viewed on the White River Field Office web site.

Comments are being accepted until Oct. 5 and may be sent to Paul Daggett, BLM WRFO, 220 E. Market St., Meeker, CO 81641.

Comments may also be sent by email to wrfomail@blm.gov. Note “coal lease by application” in the subject line.

For more information, contact Daggett at 878-3819.

BLM approves oil shale RD&D leases to test heat extraction technology

The White River Field Office also recently approved two research, development and demonstration leases to test the viability of using heat to extract oil shale.

The leases, each for a period of 10 years and on 160 acres in Rio Blanco County about 35 miles southwest of Meeker, were awarded to ExxonMobil Exploration Company and Natural Soda Holdings.

Natural Soda currently uses a process of injecting hot water underground to dissolve baking soda into a solution that can be brought to the surface.

Its research proposal outlines a similar process for oil extraction, but instead of hot water Natural Soda plans to inject a heater into the ground to unlock liquid petroleum from oil shale.

In its RD&D proposal, ExxonMobil proposes horizontally fracking wells with electrically conducive material.

The company plans to utilize electricity in the fractures to heat oil shale into recoverable liquid petroleum.

Leases will not be issued for 30 days, at which point ExxonMobil and Natural Soda Holdings will begin the nine-month process of constructing a plan of development.

The companies would then go through the process of acquiring the necessary permits from the State of Colorado, Rio Blanco County and pertinent federal agencies.

Details about the proposed projects may be viewed on the White River Field Office web site.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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