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Gordon Doubles CARES Money For Oil And Gas Program After Applications Pour In

Patrick Amole via wyomingbusiness.org/ERP

Wyoming will double its contribution of federal CARES Act funds to the oil and gas industry through the Energy Rebound Program.It will now distribute $30 million to select oil and gas companies, hoping to jumpstart more than 5,000 jobs in the next month by funding the completion of projects delayed by COVID-19.

When Gov. Mark Gordon launched the Energy Rebound Program, it was announced that up to $15 million would be distributed to energy companies with projects in Wyoming.

The program would fund companies up to $500,000 a piece if they missed out on certain activities due to COVID-19, like finishing fracking a well that's already been drilled.

"These projects were already planned, so they were pretty much ready to go," said Randall Luthi, the governor's chief energy advisor. "We had companies and workers that were willing to actually put forth the effort."

But when the governor's office announced the funded projects Nov. 25, that figure had doubled.

Luthi said Gordon made the switch because of the numerous qualified projects.

"We started looking around to see if there was any other money available," Luthi said, adding that the additional funds came from other projects previously over-funded with CARES Act money. "A few of the projects, business relief projects, had been closed for a while and not all those funds were expended. So there were available funds that could be used."

The $30 million will support 292 projects across 66 companies. Those projects include drilled but uncompleted wells, recompletions, and plugging and abandonments.

Fund distribution is based on an in-voice system, meaning companies will have to spend the money before they are reimbursed for it. The funds will have to be spent before the end of the calendar year.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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