oil and gas

Map of final parcels sold in BLM's Q4 lease sale
Bureau of Land Management

The Biden Administration has handed down a sweeping order that temporarily suspends several agency actions including the issuing of federal fossil fuel leases for the next 60 days, unless otherwise reviewed and approved by leadership.

CCO Public Domain

The state Senate Revenue Committee passed two bills that take different approaches to transitioning to a monthly ad valorem tax for the mining industry.

Dave Johnston Plant
Greg Goebel via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Several companies interested in making money through carbon capture are taking steps to set up shop at the Dave Johnston Power Plant in Glenrock, Wyoming.

A portrayal of ambient air quality impacts within BLM's FEIS. EPA found its own model showed higher PM2.5 concentrations than presented through BLM's model.
BLM Eplanning

In official comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns about how the Bureau of Land Management analyzed and presented air quality impacts for the recently-approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Robert Kaufmann, https://nara.getarchive.net/

A state program designed to help Wyoming tenants pay rent through the pandemic dispersed just a tenth of its original allotment; the rest of that money was redirected to other areas, such as oil and gas.

Image leading the Converse County Oil and Gas Project Record of Decision Document
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a record of decision allowing the Converse County Oil and Gas Project to move forward.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-WY sitting next to President Donald Trump meeting with members of Congress in a bipartisan meeting to discuss infrastructure proposals in 2018
Public Domain/Shealah Craighead

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced concern on Fox News Sunday as President-elect Joe Biden's climate team comes into focus. The Republican chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and says he isn't planning to let nominations move forward without a fight.

Shale plays throughout the US
Wyoming Energy Authority

Dec. 15 was a busy day for federal oil and gas. New numbers detail the impact of possible restrictions to production, leases are being sold, and environmental groups are once again calling for a ban.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

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.

Cover page of supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the converse county oil and gas project
Bureau of Land Management

Multiple energy companies, Wyoming and Converse County are hoping to see a final decision signed that would enable a major oil and gas project to move forward before the Biden administration arrives on Jan. 20, 2021.

Several officials gave an update to the state legislature's Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee.

Proposed projects or LWCF funding from the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land / The Trust for Public Land

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Screetshot of initial court document in a case that's been ongoing for four years
Court Listener

Last March, a federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to provide better analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public land. After receiving that analysis, the judge rules it's not enough.

President-elect Joe Biden wants to move the U.S. away from fossil fuel development, but he will face some challenges.

  

In May of 2020, the Converse County trailer park quickly emptied out after the pandemic hit and oil and gas activity declined.
Cooper McKim

Gov. Mark Gordon will use $15 million in CARES Act funds to create the Energy Rebound Program, a program intended to boost oil and gas activity in Wyoming. At the moment, there are five active rigs in the state compared to 25 at the beginning of the year.

Stevenson's Hyrail Services, LLC early on during the pandemic
Cooper McKim

Local businesses serving the energy industry in Wyoming are expressing anxiety over expected policy changes from President-elect Joe Biden.

Cevin Iemus, owner of Land Surveying, Incorporated in Gillette, said he expects his bottom line to be greatly impacted by this election. He's thinking about Biden's potential ban of oil and gas permits on federal land. For now, Iemus expects a surge of new permits and activity to outrun those changes, "but it's going to take a quick turn and go downhill."

Colorado regulators are now requiring oil and gas operators to monitor fracking emissions earlier and more often, and provide that data to local governments. Both industry officials and regulators supported the move. But concerns persist, like the fact that the rules allow oil and gas operators to choose how to monitor their own emissions. Regardless, environmental groups see Colorado as a leader in emission monitoring in the region and hope other states follow suit.

State of Wyoming

Gov. Mark Gordon released a statement following a press release providing answers to some long-held questions regarding the state's bid for Occidental Petroleum's 4.5 million acres of mineral rights and one million acres of surface land.

Proposed Oxy Land Purchase
Governor's Office

Wyoming has withdrawn its $1.2 billion bid for land and minerals owned by Occidental Petroleum after it entered into a purchase and sale agreement with another entity.

Occidental announced it entered into the agreement with Orion Mine Finance to divest some of its Land Grant assets in Colorado, Utah, and primarily, Wyoming. It includes 4.5 million mineral acres and one million fee surface acres.

Casper Star Tribune

Three workers have filed a lawsuit against EOG Resources after a natural gas explosion left them with severe injuries. EOG is among the state's top producers of natural gas and has been the state's largest producer of oil since 2015.

After much anticipation, the Governor's Office announced this afternoon that Occidental Petroleum moved on with another parties' bid for its one million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights in southern Wyoming. The company alerted Gov. Mark Gordon over the weekend that Wyoming was not selected, according to his office.

Rig count in Wyoming over the past year
Y Chart

The legislature's Joint Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee voted in favor of sponsoring a bill they hope will incentivize new oil and gas production in the state.

IEA

Wyoming will once again challenge an Obama-era rule that aims to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Uinta, Carbon, and Sweetwater County Maps With Parcels Up For Sale Highlighted. Land grant map listed as well.
Online GIS maps, Cooper McKim

Wyoming plans to move forward with a bid on a million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights from Occidental Petroleum. After hearing from the public for the first time since the legislative session on the deal, the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB), made up of five elected officials, amended its motion to make room for more transparency.

Uinta, Carbon, and Sweetwater County Maps With Parcels Up For Sale Highlighted. Land grant map listed as well.
Online GIS maps, Cooper McKim


On February 17, Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state was considering the purchase of about a million acres of surface land across southern Wyoming and 4 million acres of mineral rights from Occidental Petroleum. Now, the company has set a July 1 deadline for entities to make a bid. On May 6, Occidental confirmed it had 13 bidders.

Petroleum Association of Wyoming

There are currently only two oil and gas rigs operating in the state right now, down from 30 last year. The Joint Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee approved the drafting of two bills to help the industry, whose downturn will severely hurt the state's revenue picture.

Image of HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery on its website
HollyFrontier

HollyFrontier Corporation, a Texas-based independent petroleum refiner, announced it plans to transform its Cheyenne Refinery to focus on a new product and reduce its overall workforce by about 75 percent. Rather than producing conventional diesel, it will now look to renewable diesel.

BLM's online reporting system lists lease suspensions in Wyoming, but not yet royalty relief approvals
BLM LR 2000 system

State and federal agencies are seeing an increase in requests for relief by oil and gas producers in Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) online records system finds 69 requests have been approved for lease suspension in May.

The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

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