Oil and Gas employees at rig

Oil and Gas Facts & Figures 2021

The oil and gas industry plays an integral role in the economy of Wyoming. Here you will find the latest oil and gas facts and figures from Wyoming, including development, taxes, employment and more. For more information on oil and gas development in general, as well as in Wyoming, visit our Oil and Gas 101 page.


The petroleum industry has been exploring for oil and gas in Wyoming for over 135 years. In 1884 the first oil well was drilled southeast of present day Lander.

The deepest well drilled in Wyoming to date is a 25,830-foot true vertical depth (TVD) producing gas well in the Madden Field near Lost Cabin in Fremont County. Since the introduction of horizontal drilling, depth is measured differently than just TVD. Measured Depth (MD) takes into account both the depth from the surface and the horizontal distance out laterally, measuring the entire length of the wellbore. Today, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation processes permits with MD of 30,000 to 40,000 feet with the longest permitted well reaching just over 40,000 feet in MD.

The 2019 monthly average rig count was 32. The 2016 average of 11 is the lowest recorded rig count. In 1981, the all-time record year for rotary rig activity in Wyoming, was an average of 192 units working monthly.


During an unprecedented 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of crude oil production totaled 88.9 million barrels, down 12.74% from 2019. Sales of natural gas production in 2020 totaled 1.298 trillion cubic feet down 10.83% from 2019.

Nationally, Wyoming ranked 8th in production of both crude oil and natural gas in 2019. In 2009 Wyoming recorded its highest level of natural gas production, while 2009 marked the lowest level of crude oil production since 1954. 1970 was the year of highest crude oil production in the state, producing 141,546,503 barrels.

For the third year in a row, Converse County was the leading crude oil producer in 2020 followed by Campbell and Laramie Counties. Sublette County remained the largest natural gas producer in Wyoming, with Sweetwater County in second and Converse County taking over third from Fremont County.

During 2020, 317 companies/operators produced Wyoming’s crude oil and 211 produced natural gas. In 2020 approximately 110,525 wells produced oil and 14,449 produced gas of that number 5,238 were coal bed natural gas wells.

Wyoming had 35 operating gas plants in 2019 processing nearly 97% of the state’s gas production.


Wyoming’s first refinery was constructed in Casper in 1895.  In 2018 there were 5 operating refineries in the state with a capacity to refine 168,500 barrels of crude oil each day. In 1981 there were 14 active refineries in the state.

The first crude oil pipeline was constructed in 1911.  Today, there are approximately 100 companies operating approximately 30,000 miles of pipelines in Wyoming, not including all gathering systems or all inactive or abandoned pipelines.  Pipelines are located in all of Wyoming’s 23 counties and carry crude, natural gas, natural gas liquids, carbon dioxide and petroleum products.

According to a 2017 study produced by the American Petroleum Institute, midstream operations in Wyoming support 9,217 jobs and contribute an annual average to state GPD of $609 million.


Oil and gas production, by itself, accounted for over 40% of the total property taxes levied in Wyoming and nearly 70% of the property taxes levied on all minerals.

Property taxes levied – 2020 Mineral Production

Crude Oil $311,758,390
Natural Gas $155,766,609
Oil and Gas Total $467,224,999
Coal $154,403,861
Trona $33,617,714
All Others $9,652,584
Total All Minerals $664,899,158
TOTAL All-State Property $1,223,267,627

Minerals as a Percentage of Property Taxes

  • Oil and Gas
  • Coal
  • All Others
  • Non-Mineral Property

Minerals are the only class or kind of property in Wyoming valued and taxed at 100% of their actual value. Minerals are also the only class or kind of property which pay two direct taxes (property and severance).



Crude oil and natural gas production paid over $274 million in severance taxes, about 59% of all the severance taxes paid by minerals produced in 2020.

Severance Taxes – 2020 Production

Crude Oil $170,157,070
Natural Gas $104,194,835
Oil and Gas Total $274,351,905
Coal $170,105,953
Trona $15,155,384
All Others $2,392,342
Total All Minerals $462,005,583

Percentage of Severance Taxes Collected

  • Oil and Gas
  • Coal
  • Trona
  • All Others


In addition to property and severance taxes, Wyoming collects a royalty for petroleum produced on state-owned lands along with certain fees and rentals.  The state also receives one-half of the royalties paid to the federal government for leasing, production, and fees on federal lands.  Typically, the royalty rate on state leases is 16 2/3%.  On federal lands, the rate is 12 1/2%.



At the beginning of 2017, Wyoming ranked 7th in the nation in proved reserves of crude oil and 8th in natural gas proved reserves. Crude oil reserves for 2017 are 1,119 million barrels. Natural gas reserves for 2017 are 22 trillion cubic feet. 1960 was the largest year for crude oil reserves. 2009 was the largest year for natural gas reserves.


In 2019 Wyoming’s petroleum industry directly employed over 19,000 people with an annual payroll of nearly $1.12 billion.  In 1981 employment peaked with more than 32,000 individuals working in the industry.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Industry (in millions)

  • Oil and Gas
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Agriculture

In fiscal year 2020 oil and gas production contributed the following to state and local governments:

The Oil & Gas Industry’s Share of Property Assessed for Taxation by County Fiscal Year 2020

Albany 3.13%
Big Horn 29.77%
Campbell 29.37%
Carbon 57.11%
Converse 81.47%
Crook 29.28%
Fremont 39.34%
Goshen 12.01%
Hot Springs 62.80%
Johnson 55.46%
Laramie 38.44%
Lincoln 37.37%
Natrona 29.12%
Niobrara 53.59%
Park 37.16%
Platte 14.41%
Sheridan 1.38%
Sublette 92.34%
Sweetwater 36.97%
Teton 0.08%
Unita 54.82%
Washakie 22.06%
Weston 37.47%
Statewide 41.10%

All data obtained from the State of Wyoming and/or federal agencies.

Currently, a 6% severance tax rate applies to crude oil and natural gas production (4% on stripper).  Severance tax revenues are distributed to a variety of funds including: General Fund, Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, schools, cities, towns, highways, counties and water development.