It goes without saying that the history of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) comes with many changes and evolutions.  Over the last six years, WOGCC Engineer Sabrina Hamner has experienced this first hand and recently provided the Society of Petroleum Engineers - Powder River Basin Chapter an indepth look on the background and various changes in policies and rules that have taken place during her tenure.  

In her presentation, she pointed out that technology has substantially changed over the years, especially with the emergence of horizontal drilling.  Horizontal drilling enabled formations to be developed that were once thought uneconomical.  The technology also brought the advancements of longer horizontal reaches that traveled along the formation, instead of piercing a formation vertically at just one point, producing greater amounts of oil and/or gas from one well.  However, this meant new guidelines that correlated with these new approaches to ensure uniformed development that would avoid wasting Wyoming's resources while protecting correlative rights.  In other words, new technology precipitated the need for updated rules.

Some of those changes included the 2014 surface setback rule change, updating the flaring rules, the APD protest policy, the survey plat policy, and most recently, the pressing need for the 8M & 8L rule change which is proving to be efficacious.  Statutory updates to forced pooling was also seen this 2019-2020 Legislative session. 

Hamner discussed the WOGCC's escalated Orphan Well Program, which was allocated an additional $7.5 million for 2020-2021 from the legislature with the intent to help the oil and and gas industry stay working.  The accelerated plugging program is for both orphan well plugging and reclamation on state and fee lands and includes both conventional and CBM wells.  

Wrapping up, Hamner introduced information on the newly released CARE program called Energy Rebound.  The state of Wyoming is awarding  grants to oil and gas companies that were impacted by COVID-19 and unable to complete well plug and abandonment, workover activities and simulations, and completion of DUCs.  Operators must meet certain criteria in order to have a valid application.  The program is being administered through the Wyoming Business Council.  

Hamner's presentation was filled with examples, illustrations, and graphs to explain and add context for her audience.  Her Power Point Presentation is now available on the WOGCC website or can be accessed by clicking here.