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Wyoming oil and gas rig count half of 2019 levels; Gordon says state missing out on millions in revenue

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CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said on Monday that there were 17 oil and gas rigs operating in the state, half of the number that were operating in 2019.

Gordon said that President Joe Biden’s administration’s pause on oil and gas leasing on federal lands has cost the state millions of dollars in revenue. In response to the Biden administration’s policies, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming said in March that oil and gas leasing had generated $474 million in revenues since 2015, with $227 million of that total being shared with the State of Wyoming.

Gordon said that the state has so far seen $0 in revenues from oil and gas leasing sales in 2021.

While a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of oil and gas lease sales in June, the administration filed an appeal of that decision on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Gordon hosted U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on a visit to Wyoming last week. The two discussed a range of issues, including oil and gas development.

The governor said Monday that while he and Haaland have some “sharp” differences of philosophy, he appreciated that she took the time to come to Wyoming and hear from local voices.

Gordon communicated to Haaland his position that oil and gas leasing sales be allowed to resume and that postponed sales be held. He also said he told Haaland that he doesn’t think the suspension of leasing is an effective way for the Biden administration “to solve the environmental problems they are trying to address.”

He said that the leasing ban simply leads to the U.S. being more reliant on purchasing oil from other countries. Gordon said he also emphasized the importance the oil and gas industry has for Wyoming in terms of creating jobs.

While Gordon has been critical of the Biden administration’s oil and gas lease policies, he said on Monday that the Russia-Saudi Arabia price war in 2020 also had an impact on oil and gas activity in Wyoming.

Gordon said he is hopeful that Haaland’s visit could open a door to further discussion and said that he welcomes her to make more visits to Wyoming in the future.

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