There has been much talk this election season about America’s energy policy. Everyone agrees that our energy independence would be a good thing. How the country goes about trying to achieve that, however, is a topic of hot debate.
The increasing drilling activity in Converse County is a sign that no matter who controls Washington, oil and gas development will happen when it is profitable.
Oil and gas well permitting and production in the county and across the state is increasing.
Wyoming has risen to number eight nationally in oil production and holds firm to its number two position, behind only Texas, in natural gas production.
Converse County leads the state by a wide margin in approved oil well permits so far this year with 400. The next closest are Campbell County with 173, Laramie County at 136 and Johnson County 104.
Last year, Converse County also led with 287 approved oil well permits, with Laramie County second at 217, Campbell County at 147 and Natrona County 104.
In 2010, Converse County had the third most approved oil well permits with 79, behind Laramie County’s 104 and Campbell County’s 81. Natrona County had 48.
And in 2009, just 18 oil well permits were approved for Converse County. The top three in permitted oil wells in the state that year were Natrona County at 47, Campbell County 42 and Crook County 41.
The production numbers bear that out. Converse County so far this year accounts for more than 8.5 percent of the state’s oil production, up from just about 3.4 percent in 2008, 3.7 percent in 2009, 4.3 percent in 2010 and 6.5 percent last year. If the number of permitted wells is a reliable indicator, that share promises to rise.
With most of the numbers in through August, the county has produced more than 3.2 million barrels of oil this year. During all of 2011, about 3.5 million barrels were produced here. That was the most since 1997, when more than 3.8 million barrels were produced. Almost 1.9 million barrels of oil were produced in the county in 2009 and nearly 2.4 million in 2010.
With four full months of production yet to be counted, the county is on track this year to surpass the nearly 4.3 million barrels of oil produced here in 1996.
Natural gas production in Converse County has held fairly steady 2008 through 2011 at around 8 to 9 million Mcf per year. With four months of production left to tally for 2012, the county accounts for 7.6 million Mcf of gas production.
The ratio of federal lands oil and gas production to fee production–or private lands–in the state over the last decade has remained fairly consistent at about two-to-one federal to fee. With regard to natural gas, over the last five years, production on federal lands has increased to a greater than four-to-one ratio over fee production.
Since 2008 in Wyoming, including production logged to date this year, about 147 million barrels of oil have been produced on federal lands, 72 million barrels on private, 18 million barrels on state and 8 million on tribal lands. During the same time period, 8.4 trillion Mcf of gas have been produced on federal lands, 1.9 trillion Mcf on private, 776 million Mcf on state and 47 million on tribal lands.