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CHEYENNE - A proposed drilling project could more than double the number of gas wells sunk to date in western Wyoming's biggest gas fields.

Encana Oil & Gas, USA, proposes to drill as many as 3,500 gas wells on 220 square miles of previously undrilled land in the Upper Green River Basin. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management began taking initial public comments on the project this week.

Heavy drilling since the 1990s has resulted in 1,500 wells in the Jonah Field and 1,400 in the neighboring Pinedale Anticline field, which are among the most productive U.S. gas fields.

Encana says the new drilling planned south and west of Jonah would create more than 700 jobs and bring in an estimated $8.75 billion in taxes and royalties over 30 years.

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