When it comes to filing APD’s at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Association’s offices, two names come immediately to mind – Debbie Bagner and Mary Trembrath.  Between the two of them, the experience runs 30 years deep with Debbie being at the agency for 22 years and Mary eight.  With that length of tenure, they are no rookies at their work.  And, it’s a good thing.  Prior to the 8(m) rule (a.k.a. The APD Rule) change, the agency began seeing about 4,000-5,000 applications to drill (APDs) submitted a month.  To Debbie, it wasn’t anything new.  “You should have seen it when coalbed methane drilling became popular,” she says.  “We had stacks and stacks of applications to get through.”

Every oil and gas well that is drilled in Wyoming, meaning, federal, tribal, state, and fee, must have what is called an API number.  Basically, it is like a thumb print.  It’s the identifier of every well.   That number is bestowed once the application has been received.  Once received, Debbie and Mary, pegged the “Well Permit-ers,” begin reviewing the application to ensure it is complete.  In July of 2018 the new on-line program, called RBDMS was launched, and companies now submit their applications electronically.  “Prior to this, interjects Mary, we did things by hand.  The operators would submit their paperwork, and we would then enter the information into the WOGCC’s former program.”  Though the new, on-line program has eliminated duplicative work, as is the case many times with advancing technology, it has also eliminated the personal touch the ladies enjoyed.  “We don’t have the opportunity to help people or answer questions like we used to,” reflects Debbie.   “Now, if an operator makes a mistake, the program sends the operator an error message.  That used to be us.  We’d pick up the phone and personally call the operator to help them. “

Whether on-line or by hand, these ladies really are the “ground zero” for APDs.  If it doesn’t get past their scrutiny, it won’t move forward in the process of getting before the engineers for the technical review.  They are the ones that ensure key information is all in order – such as the survey plat being certified and that it agrees with the information submitted on the state’s Form 1; that the operator is fully bonded; that the APD fee has been received.   As Mary puts it, “We are the ‘proof readers or clearing house’ for our engineers.”

During the peak time, they had two additional full-time and four WOGCC employees helping part-time.   However, right on the heels of the rule change to address the onslaught of APDs, the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia hit with the coronavirus adding a second devastating blow.  Oil prices fell drastically and so did the number of monthly submissions.  Some recent months have only seen about 250 APDs.  Both Mary and Debbie agree that until the ups and downs of the coronoravirus level out, the effect of the 8(m) rule change will not be realized.

Though each takes their job seriously, they have their personal passions.  To meet these two, one would think they are complete opposites, which is probably why they work so well together.  

Debbie is the feisty one.  She loves anything sports, but her main passion would have to be a rich, blue Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle.  She and her husband Ed have attended Sturgis for 22 of their 45 married years.  Debbie was born in Douglas and Ed in Casper.  Ed is retired from Halliburton after 32 years.   Debbie and Ed have two sons and nine grandkids and are looking forward to retirement. 

Mary on the other hand is a crossword puzzle wizard and has a passion for reading.  Her disposition is quiet, but according to Debbie, she can be feisty as well.   “You just have to work with her long enough; then you see it come out.”  Born in Colorado Springs, CO, she was raised in Cotopaxi, CO – a small town of about 100.  At age 16 her family moved to Casper where Mary attended Natrona County High School.  Married 38 years, and widowed for several, she has a son and a daughter and five grandchildren. 

Though Debbie says she has never seen anyone that works as hard as Mary, Mary would say she couldn’t have asked for a better working partner.  Together they make an invaluable team at the WOGCC.