Wyoming’s Energy Resources
Over the past decade Wyoming has become the No. 2 producer of energy in the United States with 14.1 percent of the nation’s output, supplying the country with more than 10 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) or 10 quads of energy per year. This energy comes from coal, uranium, natural gas, oil, and wind.
Wyoming ranks first in the nation in coal and uranium production, third in natural gas, and eighth in crude oil. The state also has significant wind potential.
The WSGS works to promote the beneficial and sound use of the state’s vast energy resources. The knowledge we provide through our publications and maps enable citizens, decision makers, land managers, industry leaders, government planners, and researchers to work together toward responsible and environmentally sound resource development.
Wyoming Geologic History
Wyoming is known for its abundance of energy sources. Vast reserves of oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium underlie many areas of the state. Ancient seas that once covered what is now Wyoming and were the beginnings of the formation of our energy resources used today. Seas expanded and retreated numerous times over millions of years, leaving behind organic matter from plant and animal life. Continental river systems and adjacent shoreline and shallow marine sediments interacted to form and preserve Wyoming’s large basins, which accumulated hydrocarbon deposits. Under ideal geologic conditions of pressure and temperature beneath the Earth’s surface, these accumulations matured to form as coal, oil, and natural gas deposits formed and were preserved. As a result of these conditions and after a time when Wyoming was covered in volcanic ash (occurring many times in the past 30 million years), radioactive minerals were also deposited in the subsurface of Wyoming’s basins. This episode of erosion and deposition was an ideal setting for the concentration and formation of Wyoming’s uranium ore deposits.
U.S. Energy Resources
The United States has 2.4 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 3 percent of the world’s gas reserves, and 20 percent of the world’s coal reserves. In 2011, the United States produced 78 quads of energy, a record in our nation’s history. Despite this fact, energy consumption in the United States was above production at 97 quads, which led to the nation importing 19 percent of its energy.
The top five source countries of U.S. petroleum imports in 2011 were Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Natural gas is primarily imported via pipelines from Canada and Mexico.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts U.S. energy production will exceed growth in total U.S. energy consumption through 2040. The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013 listed “consumer preferences, improved technology, economic changes pushing the nation toward more domestic energy production, greater vehicle efficiency, greater use of clean energy, and reduced energy imports” as the reasons.
The EIA also predicts that the country will become a new exporter of energy by 2025. Natural gas (25 quads) surpassed coal (20 quads) as the nation’s most produced fuel in 2011. Renewable energy also saw a record increase in 2011 with 9 quads. The U.S. currently uses 22 percent of all energy produced in the world.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Consumer Energy Report