State Geological Survey Reviews State's Energy Industry

Jan 22, 2020

Map showing percentage of 2018 total statewide production for oil (black) and natural gas (red) for each of the major energy basins in Wyoming.
Credit Wyoming State Geological Survey

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has released its annual energy summary reports. They focus on the state of coal, oil, and natural gas.

One report outlines the recent data on the state's oil and natural gas industries. The summary gives a basic outline of where the state's oil and gas resources are and how much is being produced, said Rachel Toner, an oil and gas geologist for WSGS.

Toner said the Greater Green River Basin in the southwest part of the state is the highest natural gas producing basin, while the northeast's Powder River Basin continues to dominate the state's oil production.

"The Powder River Basin is consistently the state's highest oil producing basin. As of 2014, it reached over 50 percent of the state's total production and it's continued to stay at that contribution," she said.

Additionally, the Denver Basin in southeast Wyoming is continuing to increase its oil production each year.

Another summary reviewed the state's coal industry, and identified the continued decline in coal production.

WSGS Coal Geologist Kelsey Kehoe said some of the contributing factors to the decline are bankruptcies, and the continual loss in thermal coal markets, as well as the large number of coal-fired plants that retired in 2018.

"A lot of these plants that retired they had purchased coal from mines in Wyoming. So, when the plants closed that shrunk the market for coal," she said.

The Geological Survey's reports are intended to be helpful to the energy industry, state lawmakers and local governments when making decisions for the next year. The reports are available to the public for free.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, cwheel11@uwyo.edu.