* Over 6 trillion cubic feet of gas may be produced
* Company agreed to use pollution fighting technologies
(Adds agreement details, drilling area)
WASHINGTON, June 9 Anadarko Petroleum Corp's
plan to develop a huge natural gas field in Utah cleared a key
hurdle by reaching an air-quality agreement with the federal
government, the Interior Department said on Thursday.
The project by Anadarko's (APC.N) Kerr-McGee unit in the
Greater Natural Buttes Area involves drilling up to 3,675 new
gas wells to produce more than 6 trillion cubic feet of gas
over 10 years.
The project was proposed in 2006 but has been delayed in
the past over air quality concerns.
In the first two months of this year ozone pollution
exceeded acceptable levels in the area where the new wells
would be drilled, the Interior Department said.
Five of those days were considered "very unhealthy" for
people in the area.
Working with the Interior Department and the Environmental
Protection Agency, Anadarko agreed to several air pollution
control technologies, including a pilot project to evaluate
using natural gas fueled drilling rigs to mitigate emissions.
Parts of Utah sometimes have some of the highest winter
time ozone levels in the country, due to a sharp increase in
drilling, according to the department.
"We must be especially vigilant that such projects proceed
in the right manner and with the right mitigation," said Bob
Abbey, director of the department's Bureau of Land Management.
The air quality agreement will be part of the project's a
draft environmental impact statement that will be published in
the Federal Register on Friday and open for public comment for
45 days. A final decision on the project is expected later this
year, a BLM spokesman said.
The Anadarko project would cover 8,147 acres, which is
about 5 percent of the 162,911 acres in the Greater Natural
Buttes' existing gas producing area in the state's Uintah
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Dale Hudson and Sofina