The Oil Business in Wyoming
The oil industry has been a part of the Wyoming economy dating back to the early 19th century when explorers first reported evidence of oil. In 1832, when fur trader Captain B. L. E. Bonneville traveled to the Wind River Valley, he discovered oil springs southeast of present Lander, where the state’s first oil well would be drilled 50 years later.
Wyoming currently ranks 8th in the U.S. in terms of production of both crude oil and natural gas. In 2009, Wyoming recorded its highest level of natural gas production, while the same year marked the lowest level of oil production since 1954. 1970 was the year of the highest crude oil production for Wyoming, producing more than 141 million barrels.
How Many Active Oil Wells are there in Wyoming?
There are currently about 10,600 wells that produce oil and another 14,500 that produce natural gas in Wyoming. According to the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW), the state's petroleum industry employed more than 7,000 people in 2017, with an annual payroll of over $668 million. Additionally, the industry contributed to taxes, royalty payments, and lease revenues of nearly $1 billion for the same year.
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Is There Fracking in Wyoming?
The small town of Pavillion, Wyoming, has been the site of densely packed oil and gas development since 1953, with the first well fracked in 1964. Massive companies such as Halliburton, Devon Energy, and Chesapeake currently run fracking operations in Wyoming. Fracking has stimulated economic growth since the recession of 2008, and it has been predicted that the practice will add a budget surplus of over $1 billion annually for Wyoming, as well as achieve the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 6.4%.
Wyoming Energy Profile Facts
- Wyoming is the 2nd-biggest net energy supplier in the U.S., producing 13 times more energy than it consumes.
- Wyoming has been America's top coal-producing state since 1986, accounting for approximately 40% of all coal mined in the country in 2020. The state holds more than one-third of U.S. coal reserves at producing mines.
- Wyoming was the 8th-largest crude oil-producing state in the U.S. in 2021, accounting for over 2% of America's total crude oil output.
- Also in 2021, Wyoming was the 9th-largest natural gas producer, accounting for about 3% of U.S. marketed gas production.
- Wyoming’s large energy-producing sector and small population contribute to it having the highest per capita energy consumption and the 2nd-most energy-intensive state economy.
- Wind power in Wyoming has more than doubled since 2019, accounting for nearly 20% of the state's electricity net generation in 2021.
Wyoming Oil Worker Dies in Rig Accident
An oil worker died in January 2015 on a rig in Johnson County, Wyoming. The victim, 25-year-old Joshua Adam was killed at an Anschutz Corporation well site while working for Texas-based contractor Basic Energy Services.
The accident occurred during a well servicing operation, with Adam’s death being caused by “an unexpected vertical movement of an oil derrick,” according to a statement by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. Adams died on site.
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Worker Dies at Wyoming Natural Gas Plant
A worker died in September 2014 following an explosion at a natural gas storage tank in Western Wyoming. Thirty-five-year-old Jared Loftiss was working for Hughes Enterprises, a Marbleton-based oilfield services company.
An investigation determined that the accident was caused by a flash fire resulting from static buildup, according to a spokesperson for Wyoming Workforce Services. Three workers were injured in addition to Loftiss.
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Wyoming is the Deadliest State in the U.S. for Workers: OSHA
In recent years, Wyoming workers have died in oil field accidents, falling from roofs, getting crushed by machinery, and being killed on roadways.
In 2021, Wyoming improved its year-over-year per-capita fatality rate, seeing 23% fewer on-the-job fatalities, according to OSHA. However, even with the improvement, Wyoming ranked worst in the nation. Wyoming also ranked worst in the nation in 2020, with 13 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers, compared to second-worst Alaska with 10.7.
“If you want to know why we don’t have an adequate workforce in Wyoming, look at our [per-capita on-the-job] death rate,” said Wyoming AFL-CIO Executive Director Tammy Johnson. “If you want to know why we don’t have a workforce in Wyoming, look at the policies we have to protect workers. We don’t have any.”
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Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Wyoming Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP have experience dealing with the rights of American oilfield workers, and we are one of the only firms willing to handle oilfield workplace accidents in Wyoming and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident in Wyoming, you should contact our oil field accident lawyers immediately by using the form below or calling our law firm toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600 to schedule a free case review and legal options.
Clients may be able to recover fair compensation for medical expenses from an oil company in a lawsuit and a personal injury lawyer can help.