Issues

The Petroleum Association of Wyoming is committed to identifying and addressing those issues facing the oil and gas industry. Our staff has the experience and resources needed to ensure that the oil and gas has a seat at the table when decisions affecting the industry are being made at all levels of government.

Wyoming boasts the first national park (Yellowstone), the first national forest (Shoshone), and the first national monument (Devils Tower). The United States Forest Service controls nearly 9.2 million acres within the state. The Bureau of Land Management controls approximately 18.4 million acres of public land and nearly 43 million acres of subsurface federal mineral estate.  Meanwhile, Wyoming boasts 943 million barrels of proven oil reserves and 21,549 billion cubic feet of proven reserves of dry natural gas.

With nearly 55% of Wyoming surface lands controlled by the federal (48.43%) or state (6.22%) government along with nearly 70% of all subsurface mineral rights, public lands issues are a top priority for the Association. PAW staff advocates for true multiple use on public lands, including the safe and sustainable development of our world-class oil and gas resources.

Wyoming’s wildlife resources are unmatched and an integral part of both Wyoming’s heritage and economy. Hunting in Wyoming is both a way of life and an important driver of our outdoor economy. Tourists travel to Wyoming from around the globe to witness the many species that call Wyoming home.

Many Wyoming residents working in the oil and gas industry are avid hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. They have a vested interest in protecting the viability of our wildlife. The oil and gas industry understands the importance of wildlife to the state and believes in thoughtful, data-driven policies that sustain wildlife. PAW continues to be actively involved with the state and stakeholders as policies are developed to ensure that wildlife remains viable and vibrant, and prudent development can occur.

The individuals who work in Wyoming’s oil and gas industry take environmental responsibility very seriously. They are committed to ensuring the outdoor opportunities that make Wyoming home will be there for their children and grandchildren.

They also understand that as a primary driver of the state’s economy, the oil and gas industry provides thousands of Wyomingites with an unmatched quality of life.

PAW believes these principles are not mutually exclusive. We can produce the energy Americans and the world needs while continuing to leave Wyoming a better place.  We are proud of our role in building a prosperous Wyoming while also ensuring our wild and open spaces stay wild and open.

In 2018, the oil and gas industry contributed more than $2,600 per person in Wyoming to state and local governments or approximately $1.39 Billion. Oil and gas producers paid 30% of all property taxes in the state and over $380 Million in severance taxes.

PAW members are proud of the contributions they have made to building Wyoming and are committed to paying their fair share. PAW also believes Wyoming must find solutions that cease putting the burden of funding government operations disproportionately on the backs of oil and gas producers.

In 2018 Wyoming’s petroleum industry directly employed over 18,000 people with an annual payroll of over $1 billion. The oil and gas industry also contributes more than $620 million to education in Wyoming, including K-12 education, community colleges, and the University of Wyoming.

PAW is committed to cultivating a vibrant and well-trained workforce capable of meeting the energy needs of Wyoming and the world.

Creating a culture of safety in the oil and gas industry is paramount for members of PAW. Member companies work continuously to improve safety through comprehensive research, training, and strict standard development. Our goal is continuous improvement and zero workplace incidents.

PAW members are committed to efficiently developing Wyoming’s natural resources. Flaring may seem counterintuitive to this commitment as it is the process by which natural gas is burned off instead of captured and sold. However, there are several reasons flaring may be necessary.

  • Safety – Flaring can reduce the buildup of gas that can create significate safety hazards for both employees and the surrounding environment.
  • Emissions – Flaring, rather than just releasing the gas into the air (called venting), safely eliminates sulfur dioxide and reduces methane emissions.
  • Lack of pipeline infrastructure – Pipeline capacity to capture and carry away resources often lags behind production because a field first must prove it has the resources to sustain the costs of building.

Technological advances continue to reduce the need for flaring. Several innovative companies and members of PAW have designed technologies to capture, recycle, and recapture gas and liquids. Others have developed technology to use natural gas to power internal operations or other beneficial uses.

PAW supports common-sense regulations on flaring, like Wyoming’s current 60Mcf cap, that limit emissions while allowing producers the flexibility to utilize flaring as a tool to protect the workforce and environment when necessary. PAW also supports the development of additional infrastructure, such as pipelines, to bring product to market and reduce the need for flaring of excess gas.

Given Wyoming’s complex mineral estate ownership and current split estate laws, landowners may be uncertain of their rights regarding mineral development. In general, Wyoming is considered a mineral dominant state, and the owner of the mineral estate has the right to access the land to develop those minerals. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has put together a “Guide to Oil and Gas Operations for Surface Owners” to assist landowners in understanding their rights and responsibilities when it comes to mineral development.

Whether landowners own the mineral estate under their land or are subject to split estate, PAW members are committed to being good neighbors before, during, and after the development of oil and gas resources on their property.

PAW Committees

PAW has several standing committees working behalf of our members on issues important to the oil and gas industry.

Joe Milczweski, Chairman

Occidental Petroleum Corp

Megan Degenfelder, Co-Chairman

Southland Royalty Company

Drew Harrold, Chairman

Chesapeake Operating, LLC

Bobby Rolston, Vice Chairman

Occidental Petroleum Corp

Dave Applegate, Chairman

Occidental Petroleum Corp

Joe Icenogle, Vice Chairman

Wave Petroleum Operating, LLC

Coming Soon

Howard R. Dieter, Chairman

Jonah Energy, LLC

Michelle Koch, Vice Chairman

Merit Energy Company