Gas developer drops Lake DeSmet prospects, sets sights on Southwest Wyoming

Nov 17, 2011

A Casper-based developer is shifting attention away from a contentious natural gas-to-liquids plant on Lake DeSmet, and is instead eyeing southwest Wyoming as a potential location for the proposed operation.

NERD Gas Company is looking to construct a facility to convert natural gas into gasoline. If constructed, the plant would be the first of its kind in the country.

The project earned recent endorsements from local officials in Buffalo and Sheridan after NERD Gas officials touted the potential economic benefits to the region. But the proposed plant also sparked opposition from conservationists in the area who voiced concern about the potential side effects for water quality and recreation at Lake DeSmet.

Now NERD Gas engineer Joe Nicholas says that the company is worried that water rights at the lake might be too difficult to obtain to move forward with the plant. Nicholas says the company has limited time and resources to move forward with the plant, and believes water and natural gas will be easier to come by in southwest Wyoming.

Meanwhile, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is currently seeking to lease water acreage on Lake DeSmet for a 99-year period to protect fisheries and recreational opportunities. A joint commission made up of representatives from Johnson and Sheridan counties oversees water management at the lake.