Increased Interest in Wyoming Oil and Gas

My Alma matter recently started using a slogan that I absolutely love – “the world needs more cowboys” – check out the University of Wyoming homepage here.   

However, the Cowboy State is not just home to cowboys.  Wyoming is also home to deposits of oil, gas, trona, coal, uranium, bentonite, and other elements – the Wyoming Mining Association website, which can be found here, and the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (“WOGCC”) website, which can be found here, are both excellent sources for information on Wyoming’s resources.  

Wyoming is no stranger to cowboys or to the booms and busts of the energy sector.  In fact, the foundation of Wyoming is deeply rooted in the hard working men and women who are gritty enough to work through the cyclical nature of the energy industry, not to mention those who can withstand the wind and the weather.  However, although Wyoming has struggled in recent years due to downturns in the oil and gas industry and the coal sector, Wyoming is increasingly on the radar for future oil and gas production.    

According to an article published in Oil and Gas 360 in late September of 2018 entitled, Wyoming Has 18,000 Drilling Permits in the Queue for Approval and 30 Active Rigs, “Wyoming regulators have 18,000 applications for permit to drill in a queue awaiting approval” and the WOGCC is reportedly moving through up to 150 APDs per month.  The article further points out that, “[m]any of those [APDs] will not be approved, but the activity speaks to increased interest in either drilling in Wyoming or securing primacy over a drilling area by being the first to secure a permit.”

In addition, the WOGCC has been forced to take action since it is being bombarded with applications, further reflecting the spike in interest in Wyoming oil and gas development: 

1.         Effective with the July 2018 hearings, because the WOGCC has been so inundated with applications, an Inactive Docket (“B” docket) was created to lessen the burden on WOGCC staff.  Pursuant to the Protest Policy for Spacing Related Hearings issued on June 12, 2018, any protested spacing related application that is continued more than once will be automatically placed on the “B” Docket for a period of up to one year until it is either resolved by the parties or set for a hearing at the request of either party.  This is an effort to ease the workload on WOGCC staff and to get the process more streamlined.

2.         More recently, effective December 11, 2018, the WOGCC implemented a new hearing policy regarding amending applications.  The full updated policy can be found here.  The new hearing policy provides that when a hearing application is amended, it will be continued and assessed a continuance fee – and the applicant will be required to re-notice the application and provide a new affidavit of mailing.  According to Mark Watson, Oil & Gas Supervisor, this new policy is reportedly designed to provide the WOGCC staff adequate time to prepare the docket for hearing. 

It is clear that interest in Wyoming oil and gas development is on the rise and the good news is that the WOGCC is taking steps to accommodate the influx.  This news is not only good for those in the oil and gas industry itself, but for all Wyoming folks working in businesses that help support energy workers. 

Stay tuned – we will continue to monitor the energy sector in the Cowboy state.

Melissa Lyon is a skilled litigator and transactional attorney with a particular focus on the needs of clients in the energy and natural resources sector. Staying true to her country-law roots, Melissa is distinguished by her work ethic, leadership, and her charisma, and she is consistently recognized by clients for her dedication to achieving successful resolutions.
 
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