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The petroleum industry has been exploring for oil and gas in Wyoming for over 115 years. In 1884, the first oil well was drilled southeast of present day Lander. During 1999, 974 wells were drilled and completed. Of that number, 80 or 8% found oil, 829 or 85% found gas, and 65 or 7% were dry holes. Only 41 new field wildcat wells, those drilled in unproven areas, were drilled in 1999. In recent years, about 22% of wildcat wells found oil or gas. The average depth for all wells drilled in Wyoming in 1998 was 5,745 feet. The median cost was $406,000. Nationally, the figures were 5,963 feet and $258,000.

The deepest well drilled in Wyoming to date was a 25,764 foot dry hole. The deepest producing well is a gas well drilled to 24,877 feet.

The 1999 monthly average rig count was 32, the 1995 average of 23 was the lowest since WWII. In 1981, the all-time record year for rotary rig activity in Wyoming, there was an average of 192 units working monthly.


Crude oil and/or natural gas were produced in 21 of Wyoming's 23 counties during 1998. Teton and Platte Counties produced neither. In 1998, sales of crude oil production totaled 64,141,588 barrels, down 5.75% from 1997. Sales of natural gas production in 1998 equaled 1,014,209,713 Mcf, up 1.68% from 1997.

Nationally, Wyoming ranked 7th in production of crude oil and 5th in natural gas production during 1998. In 1998, Wyoming recorded its highest level of natural gas production. 1998 marked the lowest level of crude oil production since 1954. 1970 was the year of highest crude oil production in the state.

Campbell County was the leading crude oil producer in 1998, followed by Park and Sweetwater Counties. Sublette County was the largest natural gas producer, with Sweetwater and Uinta Counties following.

During 1998, 571 companies/operators produced Wyoming's crude oil and 293 produced natural gas. There were 14,287 producing wells. Approximately 9,121 wells produced oil and 5,166 produced natural gas. The average daily production for an oil well was 19 barrels. For a gas well, the average was 537 Mcf per day.

Wyoming had 46 operating gas plants in 1998, processing nearly 97% of the state's gas production.

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Last Update 01/28/01

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