Governor Gordon voices support for proposed rule changes on drilling permits

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) Governor Gordon today expressed his support for proposed changes to rules governing oil and gas drilling permits, following through with a commitment he made to address the issue during the 2019 Legislative Session.

On Tuesday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) released a proposed rule intended to provide a “level playing field” for all operators with intent to drill and develop minerals within the state of Wyoming.

The proposed rule would mean Wyoming would continue to be a first-to-file state, where the first operator to apply for a permit and receive approval has the right to drill, but only for a two-year period. After the initial two-year period, other working interest owners within a drilling and spacing unit (DSU) will be able to file applications for permits to drill (APDs) with a time limit placed on the operator to drill the well.

“The oil and gas industry is essential to Wyoming, and over the years it has adapted to evolving challenges,” Governor Gordon said. “As that happens our regulatory framework must also evolve to protect the interests of our state, our citizens, and the producers' ability to efficiently develop these resources.”

Since 2016, Wyoming has seen a high volume of drilling permit applications filed; ideally this proposed rule will reduce the number of pending applications.

In January, the Wyoming Legislature’s Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee's announced plans for an interim study to ultimately modernize and update Wyoming's oil and gas regulations. The Governor’s Office worked with legislators to advance this proposed rule change.

“This has been an extended process and I want to thank the WOGCC, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, legislators, as well as the various land owners and groups who have recognized the problem and sought a thoughtful, common-sense approach to solving it,” Governor Gordon added.

Though the preliminary process began in January, the release of the proposed rule begins the official first step in a 33-step process leading to a final rule, hopefully by January 1, 2020. As part of this process, there will be an official 45-day comment period, anticipated to begin in August, when public comments will be collected and reviewed. An exact date and instructions on how to properly submit comments will be announced at a later time. A copy of the proposed rule is available on the WOGCC website, wogcc.wyo.gov