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Federal, State Regulators Honor WPX Energy

WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) received two awards this month for its collaborative efforts in planning and developing operations in the San Juan Basin.

The company received the awards from the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The state BLM office in Farmington, N.M., honored WPX for a three-year effort to create an environmental assessment plan for its Middle Mesa project, while closely collaborating with area environmental groups to protect native wildlife, namely mule deer.

Middle Mesa, located about 70 miles east of Farmington, is a planned drilling program to develop natural gas from the Mancos Shale formation.

The company ultimately developed 32 mitigation measures, including tactics for quieter operations, reduced emissions, and the re-use of produced water and flowback water from existing operations to hydraulically fracture new wells.

“We appreciate the company’s cooperation and attention to detail during the planning process,” said Dave Mankiewicz, minerals manager for the BLM Farmington field office.

Although WPX’s plans for developing Middle Mesa have been deferred in the current natural gas price environment, the environmental assessment plan is still in place.

The U.S. Forest Service presented WPX with the Carson National Forest 2012 Stewardship Award, which highlights the company’s efforts to help preserve natural resources in New Mexico’s Jicarilla Ranger District.

The award pinpoints WPX’s use of green well completions, environmentally sound construction practices and reducing truck traffic.

“We want to be known for doing the right thing,” said Ken McQueen, WPX’s San Juan director. “This kind of recognition validates everything we’ve done to reach out and involve others in our plans.”

WPX has 123,000 net acres under lease in the San Juan Basin where the company operates approximately 880 natural gas wells and holds a joint ownership interest in another 2,500 wells.

In 2011, WPX paid approximately $28 million in royalties for its wells on federal, state and Indian lands in the San Juan Basin, as well as another $12 million in severance, conservation, school and ad valorem taxes.

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