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Wyoming's Oil & Gas Facts


  • Wyoming ranks eighth nationally in crude oil production.
  • Wyoming produced 75.6 million barrels of crude oil in 2017, up from 72.6 million barrels in 2016.
  • The Mike Murphy #1 well was the first oil well drilled in Wyoming. It was drilled in 1884 next to a natural oil seep and was the discovery well for the Dallas field, which is still an active oil field today.
  • Salt Creek field is the most prolific oil field in Wyoming. In 2017, it produced more than 4.1 million barrels. Since its 1889 discovery, Salt Creek field has produced more than 715 million barrels of oil, with an estimated 1.8 billion barrels still remaining in reserve. The field is currently undergoing tertiary recovery using CO2 floods.
  • Quealy field was the first field in the Rocky Mountain region to be discovered using seismic methods. The California Company used reflection seismic surveys to delineate the Quealy Dome anticline and drilled the first productive well in Quealy field in 1934.
  • The first refinery in Wyoming was built in Casper and began processing crude oil in 1895. It had an initial capacity of 50–100 barrels of oil per day. In comparison, Casper’s existing Little America refinery has a total operable capacity of 25,500 barrels per stream day.
  • Horizontal wells now account for 87 percent of all new oil and gas wells drilled in the United States. In 2017, 88 percent of the approved oil and gas permits in Wyoming were for horizontal wells.

Natural Gas

  • Wyoming currently ranks sixth nationally in natural gas production.
  • Wyoming produced 1.80 billion MCF (MCF = 1,000 cubic feet) of natural gas in 2017, down slightly from 1.84 billion MCF in 2016.
  • Coalbed natural gas wells in the Powder River Basin have cumulatively produced more than 6.2 billion MCF of gas from shallow Fort Union and Wasatch coals. Current annual gas production from Powder River Basin CBNG wells is less than 25 percent of its 2009 peak of 559 million MCF of gas.
  • Jonah field was discovered in 1975, but most of the development of the field did not begin until 1992 when multi-stage hydraulic fracturing was used by the McMurry Oil Company specifically to release the tight gas stored in Jonah field. These innovative techniques were then used to exploit the tight gas and oil from the nearby Pinedale anticline in the late 1990s.
  • The Rocky Mountain completion depth record was set by the Bighorn 1-5 (API 49-013-21362). This well was completed between 23,758 and 23,902 feet in the Madison Limestone and had an initial production rate of 20,000 MCF of gas per day. The subsequent Bighorn 2-3 well (API 49-013-21510) was completed between 23,579 and 23,852 feet in the Madison with an initial production rate of 38,000 MCF of gas per day. These two wells established the deepest commercial gas production in the Rocky Mountain region as part of the Madden field.
  • The LaBarge-Shute Creek treating facility processes gas from wells within the Madison Limestone. This gas is rich in carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide, and commercial quantities of helium. Excess carbon dioxide is transported via pipeline to the Rangely field in northern Colorado and several fields in Wyoming for enhanced oil recovery operations.
  • New 2017 horizontal well developments in the Pinedale and Jonah gas fields have shown promising results. Initial production from horizontals at Pinedale ranged from 20,000–55,000 MCF per day.

Wyoming's Oil & Gas Reserves

  • Wyoming had 791 million barrels of proven oil reserves in 2016, which accounted for 2.4 percent of the U.S. total reserves.
  • Wyoming had an estimated 20,818 billion cubic feet of proven reserves of dry natural gas, or 6.5 percent of the U.S. total, as of 2016.

Oil & Gas Prices

For information on historical, current, and future prices, please refer to the following:

Oil & Gas FAQ

How do I obtain information on oil or gas wells drilled in Wyoming?
All oil and gas well information is maintained in a database by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC). The database is accessible at the WOGCC website.
Who regulates the oil and gas exploration and production industry?
Drilling and production on Wyoming State Lands and on private lands are regulated by the WOGCC. Drilling on federal land is regulated primarily by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service.
I own property in Wyoming with mineral rights. How can I learn if oil, gas, or other minerals may be on my land?
The WSGS is not in a position to evaluate properties. However, there are many consulting geologists throughout the state that can help answer this question. Consulting geologists can be found locally or often advertise in the newsletter published by the Wyoming Geological Association. Certified professional geologists are licensed by the Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists and a list is maintained at their website.
I hear so much about “fracking” in the news but don’t really understand what it is. Where can I find more information?
Fracking is another term used for "hydraulic fracturing.” Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping, under very high pressure, a mixture of water, proppant (sand or an artificial proppant), and specific chemicals into an oil or gas reservoir, to create a network of connected fractures to increase hydrocarbon production. The Association of American State Geologists produced a two-page pdf document to explain hydraulic fracturing. More information on hydraulic fracturing can be found on websites by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Watershed Council, Geological Society of America, and American Petroleum Institute.
Is there a repository for cores and/or cuttings in Wyoming?
No. All publicly available cores and cuttings for Wyoming (as well as other states) are stored at the USGS Core Research Center in Lakewood, Colorado. More information can be found at
Do you have any information on historical oil production in Wyoming? published an article on “The Oil Business in Wyoming” by Phil Roberts detailing how oil production in Wyoming began and evolved.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission maintains scans of individual well production prior to 1978 in their database.
Where can I find more information on statistics for Wyoming’s oil and gas industry?
Further information on oil and gas statistics, including production, prices, and more, can be obtained from the following downloads or website:
What other agencies might have useful data?

Jesse Pisel (307) 766-2286 Ext. 225
Rachel Toner (307) 766-2286 Ext. 248