Companies plan 63 new wells in Converse County


DOUGLAS — Three major players in the oil industry have confirmed they are planning to drill 63 wells (cumulatively) in Converse County in 2021. 

It’s not just good news – it’s great news – for a change, following worldwide oil prices tanking last year, a plummeting U.S. economy and the coronavirus pandemic that left the county with hardly any new wells drilled. 

Anschutz Exploration told the Converse County commissioners May 18 they are putting in 28 wells, all off of Highland Loop Road, according to Commissioner Robert Short. They already have one rig standing, with another rig planned to arrive here July. Each new rig accounts for an average of 100 direct and indirect jobs. 

Devon Energy confirmed last month that they have a total of 18 new wells slated for Converse County this year. Two of those wells are being drilled now, about 40 miles outside of Douglas via WYO59. 

Add to that another 17 wells being put in by Continental Resources, who bought out Samson Resources in a $215 million deal March 4. 

Continental confirmed May 5 they’ve already got one oil rig up just off of Jenne Trail. Company officials said they will stand up another rig in June, about 25 miles outside of Glenrock.

Continental’s acquisition of the Powder River Basin assets from Samson Resources includes 96 approved federal drilling permits and three of the top wells completed in the basin, according to a report published by Hart Energy (hartenergy.com) in February. 

Continental’s PRB acquisition also adds 130,000 net acres of oil, producing approximately 9,000 barrels of oil a day (and 80 percent of that crude), and condensate-rich acreage to the company’s Oklahoma and North Dakota positions, according to Hart. The company has wells in North and South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and now, with their Powder River Basin assets, they’ve added Wyoming to their holdings. 

Continental Resources Senior Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs Blu Hulsey said his company is excited about the PRB acquisition. 

“We are the top producer in North Dakota and in Oklahoma. We are very excited to add the Powder River Basin to our company,” he said. 

Hulsey told commissioners the acreage includes 400-600 potential well locations, “. . . and certainly three to five of the best wells in the Powder River are in that area. We are encouraged by that and for the opportunity.” 

Continental Resources employs about 1,250 people company-wide. Oklahoma City is their primary base. Hulsey said they have kept on the previous Samson employees from Mills, Douglas and Gillette when they bought the PRB holdings. 

Converse County Commission Chairman Jim Willox welcomed Hulsey and the Continental contingent and said the county “had a good relationship with Samson,” and hoped for the same with Continental. 

“We were full to the gills three years ago (regarding energy/oil companies). We encourage you to be an active communicator. We like to know when a new site comes to town; we like to have a Notice of Industrial Activity filed. We distribute it to (numerous agencies within Converse County) so we know where people are,” Willox said. 

The majority of Continental’s Wyoming holdings are in the Powder River Basin, but they do have assets in the Red Desert, Bent said. 

According to Enverus, Wyoming has nine oil rigs standing as of May 10; three in Converse, four in Campbell, and one each in Laramie and Sublette counties. 

Longtime Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Supervisor Mark Watson, who is set to retire from WOGCC July 5, reported Wyoming’s February 2021 oil production as 6,303,345 barrels of oil. This is a decrease in production of about 23 percent from this time last year.

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