The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah approved the permit for the Harley Dome helium project just north of I-70 and a few miles west of the Utah-Colorado state line.
Flatirons Resources, applied to the BLM-Utah Moab Field Office for a permit to drill a 1,100-foot exploratory well in the Harley Dome gas field in eastern Utah and for an associated right-of-way to transport the produced gas via a surface pipeline to a new gas processing plant that would be brought in.
If sufficient quality and quantity of helium is confirmed, the proponent will construct a four-inch, 7,183-foot pipeline to a small plant where the helium will be removed from the gas stream and compressed for truck transport.
The well will be located five miles west of the Utah-Colorado border on federal lands in northern Grand County; the helium extraction plant will be located 1.4 miles from the well on private property.
The project’s environmental assessment considered a wide range of potential impacts to natural and cultural resources, and includes best management practices and reclamation plans to mitigate identified impacts.
Natural gas deposits commonly contain small amounts of helium. The Harley Dome helium project is notable because the helium reservoir in the Harley Dome gas field is believed to have an unusually high concentration of helium and low concentration of flammable gases like methane.
Helium is a colorless, odorless gas with unique properties such as the lowest boiling and melting points of all the natural elements. In addition to filling colorful balloons, helium’s distinctive characteristics also make it critical to hospitals that use it to cool MRI scanners; the nuclear industry, which uses it to cool reactors; and, even NASA who uses it to purge explosive fuel from its rockets.