Flying into the Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming, last week gave me a much-needed dose of the Cowboy State. Cody, a quiet and welcoming cowboy town named after Colonel “Buffalo Bill” Cody, is an amazing gem of the West.
I had a little free time so I stopped into the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for the first time and toured the Whitney Western Art Museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum and the Draper Natural History Museum. If you haven’t already been – trust me, it is worth the trip! It is a truly amazing place to get a one of a kind glimpse into the American West.
I haven’t provided you with an update in a while. The trip got me thinking – what is new in the Cowboy State?
Wyoming Rig Count
- According to Baker Hughes’ Rig Count Overview and Summary Count, the rig count of the United States sits at 1,003 as of April 6, 2018, up 164 from last year, and Wyoming’s rig count is currently at 29.
WOGCC Creates New APD Approval Policy
- The Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (“WOGCC”) recently came out with a new policy for the approval of Applications for Permits to Drill (“APDs”). The WOGCC press release on the new APD policy can be found here. The official WOGCC Memo on Application for Permit to Drill Processing can be found here.
- This new policy sparked my interest because we have been dealing with the exact same kind of issues here in Colorado when it comes to competing APDs and determining which is first in line. The commissions are being bombarded with APDs – the WOGCC Memo provides that “an unprecedented number of applications for permit to drill” are being received; “the monthly average for APDs received for 2017 was 1,050, which is an increase of 83% compared to the average for 2015.”
- The new WOGCC policy provides that a basic completeness check will be conducted in order to prioritize the approval process. Simply put, the WOGCC will make sure submitted APDs are complete and contain all required information prior to processing for final approval. Operators cannot file an incomplete APD and expect to have the effective APD just because it was filed first– completeness of the APD is required for priority.
Demand for Energy Jobs Increasing
- Although Wyoming’s energy sector is not booming, things are picking up and folks are hiring again.
- According to the Casper Star Tribune article entitled, Wyoming’s Economy isn’t Robust, but With Oil Up, Energy Services Are Hiring, jobs are on the uptick and people are hopeful.
- According to the Casper Star Tribune article entitled, The Low Price of Coal Mines, Coal Demand and a Shortage of Oil Field Workers, “[o]ilfield services firms say they are looking at a worker shortage, particularly drivers with a CDL who can pass a drug test.”
Emissions Rule Stayed
- As described in the Casper Star Tribune’s article, Wyoming Judge Decides Oil and Gas Firms Will Not Have to Comply With Controversial Emissions Rule, Wyoming federal court judge Scott Skavahl stayed methane emissions rules from the Obama era, as the BLM will be “substantially rewriting” the rules shortly.
- The saga continues…
In sum, there is a lot going on in the Cowboy State!