Oil & Gas Resources
Wyoming is rich in oil and natural gas resources. These fossil fuels are used to fuel cars and airplanes, power electrical plants, and heat our homes. They are also used for creating thousands of household products.
Petroleum and natural gas are the by-products of geological processes that occur deep in the Earth. Oil and gas are the result of ancient seas that once covered the state. Earth’s natural processes essentially cook deeply buried organic material over millions of years to form oil and natural gas. Oil tends to form at lower temperatures and natural gas at higher temperatures.
Wyoming hosts some of the largest oil and gas fields in the nation, including the Pinedale and Jonah natural gas fields, which rank among the top 10 in the nation. The state ranks third in the nation in the production of natural gas and eighth in crude “unprocessed” oil production. Nearly 25 percent of the nation’s energy comes from oil and 22 percent from natural gas.
Exploration and Production
In 2011, exploration included a total of 1,522 oil and gas wells that were drilled and completed in the state. Of those wells produced, 260 wells or 17 percent found oil, and 1,175 or 77 percent found gas. Wyoming produced over 2.3 trillion cubic feet of marketed natural gas in 2011, sliding to the number three spot in the nation from its second place ranking in 2010. Texas is first and Louisiana second. The state continues to rank eighth in the nation in oil production with 54.5 million barrels, in 2011.
Refining and Transportation
Wyoming is the transportation crossroads for Canadian crude oil imports and serves as the byway for Rocky Mountain production flowing to U.S. markets.
- 6 active refineries have the capability of refining 192,500 barrels of crude oil each day (located in the southern and eastern parts of the state)
- 100 companies operate over 27,300 miles of major pipelines in Wyoming carrying crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products
- Pipelines cross through all of the state’s 23 counties
Wyoming ranks tenth in the nation in proved reserves of crude oil and second in natural gas reserves. Reserve estimates in 2010 for oil were 567 million barrels of oil and 35,074 billion cubic feet of natural gas (USGS).