Study: Wyoming Loses Billions of Dollars Due to Drilling Ban

Study: Wyoming Loses Billions of Dollars Due to Drilling Ban

Written by on March 8, 2021

Thanks to the University of Wyoming, there are hard numbers to back up the fears of how much the ongoing oil and gas moratorium will impact Wyoming’s economy.

The University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute is predicting a severe loss of oil revenue for the State of Wyoming. This is due directly to the moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands imposed by the Biden Administration.

President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 13990 in January. Under the order, all leases authorized by the Trump Administration are going to be reviewed to see how they conflict with new policies to counter climate change.

As part of this executive order, a “temporary suspension of delegated to authority to issue any offshore or onshore fossil fuel authorization (including leases and permits to drill)” has been imposed.

In response to these federal actions, Governor Mark Gordon signed his own executive order. Wyoming’s Executive Order 2021-01 asks for the evaluation of how President Biden’s order would impact the oil and gas industries and the jobs they create within Wyoming.

Now, the University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute has released its findings – and they’re bleak.

For the study, only Wyoming’s active oil fields – anywhere active drilling has occurred since 2010 – are considered. That leaves the study with 671 oil fields, 75% of which are controlled by the federal government.

Natural gas fields are excluded from the study.

Based on those numbers, Wyoming stands to lose 2.9 billion barrels of potential oil reserves. Based on an average tax rate of 8.9% at $50 a barrel, that adds up to $12.9 billion dollars.

That multi-billion-dollar figure doesn’t include state mineral royalties, associated gas production, other taxes, and lost jobs are a result of this loss of revenue. The stakes are clear. Several Wyoming projects are currently stalled under the executive order.

A 5,000 well oil and gas project between Glenrock and Douglas is one such project. It is anticipated to create 8,000 jobs and up to $28 billion in revenue during its lifespan.

Another current causality is the new BLM-approved project in the Moneta Divide. The 65-year project would see over 4,000 new wells and $87.5 million in state severance taxes.

These figures are still hypothetical. But every day that the moratorium continues, the more real these numbers become.

At this time, there’s no word on when the federal drilling moratorium will be lifted. Under the executive order, the duration of the ban is 60 days. That would place its end around Monday, March 22.

Governor Gordon has staunchly vowed to oppose all actions the Biden Administration takes against oil and gas drilling. Wyoming’s congressional representatives have taken similar stanches against these actions.

Now, we know exactly how much the state stands to lose.

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