What is the Enefit Utility Corridor project?
Enefit American Oil has filed a right-of-way application with the BLM seeking authorization to construct and operate natural gas, electricity, and water utilities and a processed oil product delivery line across federal lands in the utility corridor(s), as well as upgrade a portion of the existing Dragon Road.
Why has Enefit proposed their Utility Corridor project?
All proposed utilities would service Enefit’s proposed South Project, which is located on private land and minerals. The Enefit South Project consists of a mine and processing plant on private lands and private minerals. It is currently being designed for construction and commissioning in two 25,000 BPD phases. The first phase, planned for years one through four following the completion of construction, would produce 25,000 BPD finished product via an initial retort and upgrader design concept for delivery to Salt Lake City refineries, while the second phase would produce an additional 25,000 BPD via an expanded retort and upgrader design concept (years four through 30) for delivery of finished and unfinished products to Salt Lake City and other markets. The 50,000 BPD operational plan is planned to continue for 30 years, utilizing oil shale ore rock mined from Enefit's southern private property holdings.
Why is the BLM considering this project?
Where will the Enefit Utility Corridor project be located?
BLM must respond to Enefit’s application for right-of-way across BLM-administered lands.
How will this project comply with the National Environmental Policy Act?
To evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposal, the BLM will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate and disclose the potential direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts that could result from implementation of the Enefit Utility Corridor Project. After considering the analysis in the EIS, BLM will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) that will describe whether or not BLM will grant the requested right-of-way on lands they administer.
Will the EIS analyze the Enefit South Project as well?
Since the Enefit South Project mine and processing plant on private lands and private minerals are non-Federal connected actions to the proposed utility corridors, the EIS will also assess the indirect and/or cumulative impacts of the South Project. However, approval or disapproval of Enefit’s South Project are outside the scope of the BLM’s jurisdiction, so the BLM's ROD will not address the South Project. Approval or disapproval of the Enefit South Project activities are under the jurisdiction of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining.
Enefit’s proposed utility corridors are located in Uintah County, about 20 to 40 miles south of Vernal, Utah. All proposed utilitites would be located within an existing developed oil and gas field and adjacent to existing pipelines, powerlines, and roads where possible. One crossing of the White River is planned; however, all proposed utilities will cross the White River at the same location, about one-half mile east (upstream) of the existing White River bridge and adjacent to an existing pipeline.
Who is Enefit?
Enefit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eesti Energia AS (EE; known as Enefit for activities outside of Estonia), the world's largest oil shale processing company. Founded in 1939 and owned by the national government of Estonia. EE mines up to 17 million tons of oil shale per year to produce shale oil and electricity in the Baltic region of northern Europe. EE employs nearly 8,000 people worldwide and has produced approximately 200 million barrels of oil and 550 terawatts of power throughout their history. Enefit has acquired one of the largest tracts of privately-owned oil shale resource in the United States, and the largest in Utah, totaling more than 30,000 acres and containing an estimated 2.6 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil across all holdings. The South Project was previously owned by Oil Shale Exploration Company (OSEC), with Petrobras America Inc. and Mitshale Development LLC holding options and jointly developing the South Project. In March 2011, Enefit acquired 100 percent of OSEC's shares and assumed full ownership and control of the South Project and all of OSEC's assets. Enefit renamed OSEC as Enefit American Oil and has continued development of the South Project with several key modifications to the business plan.
When will a decision be made regarding the Enefit Utility Corridor project?
A Final EIS for the rights-of-way is anticipated to be issued in 2nd Quarter 2017. A Record of Decision on the Final EIS for the ROW application is anticipated to be issued in 3rd Quarter 2017.
What other agencies are helping to prepare the EIS?
Agencies who are cooperating with the BLM in preparation of the EIS include: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (through the Energy Pilot Office program); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and Utah Public Lands Policy and Coordination Office.