The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Hydraulic Fracturing: The Key to New Wyoming Wells

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 22, 2010

A couple of successful wells are causing energy companies to take a fresh look at the southeastern corner of Wyoming.

According to the Star-Tribune, drillers are focusing on rock formations known to contain huge deposits of energy but that were believed to be technically unrecoverable.

The oil and natural gas-bearing formations are the Frontier Sandstone and the Niobrara Shale. Drillers are using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to coax oil and natural gas from the rock in same way that natural gas is being produced in other hard-rock formations in the United States.

Geologist Jimmy Goolsby told the Star-Tribune the combination of horizontal drilling and fracking "changes things significantly." In fact, he said, "These have changed the world, I really believe."

A new well near the North Platte River is reportedly producing "impressive yields." A second well just below the Wyoming border in Colorado also is said to be commercial success. Together, they apparently are touching off a drilling boom. In Wyoming, the Star-Tribune reports, "there's a rush on mineral leasing from Cheyenne to north of Douglas."

Additional wells are expected to be drilled in some of Wyoming's poorest counties, providing a major boost to the local economies. As studies have shown, energy development creates jobs, generates revenues for government services, and helps to increase the nation's energy security.

The new wells highlight the importance of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to America's energy supplies. They also illustrate how advanced technologies are making it possible to expand and extend U.S. oil and natural gas supplies well into the future.