Governor Mark Gordon has announced that up to $12 million of remaining CARES Act funds will be used to fund the Energy Rebound Program, which is designed to get more people working in the energy industry. In 2020 the Energy Rebound Program provided badly needed capital for specified oil and gas projects, including drilled but uncompleted ventures, workovers, and reclamation of oil and gas wells through the plugging and abandonment process.
“The Energy Rebound Program successfully provided opportunities for oil and gas industry employees who lost jobs when drilling ceased last year,” Governor Gordon said. “This program will continue to provide economic benefits to this important industry, their workforce and the entire state of Wyoming.”
As Wyoming’s economy continues to improve, the oil and gas industry is lagging behind due to external market factors. Currently there are nine drilling rigs operating in Wyoming, compared to more than 30 in February of 2020. These funds will once again target projects that bring immediate economic benefits, including Wyoming job growth and revenue, along with the environmental benefits of plugging and reclaiming oil and gas wells that are no longer in use, or near the end of their useful life.
“As energy demand continues to increase, private-land production states have seen a quicker rebound, one that has yet to reach Wyoming’s federally-owned resources. Given the success of the inaugural Energy Rebound Program – a jobs program at its core – Governor Gordon’s decision to initiate a second round makes perfect sense,” said Pete Obermueller, President of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. “In 2020, despite a quick turnaround over the holidays, the men and women of the oil and gas industry stepped up – utilizing more than 100 service companies from 14 Wyoming towns to complete their work, supporting thousands of local jobs, and kickstarting more than $150 million in new production.”
Last year, industry had just six weeks to identify and complete projects. This time, the projects will need to be completed by the end of the year. Once again there will be a cap of $500,000 for each approved project. However, this year, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will be administering the program. Oil and gas operators will need to certify the number of jobs created for Wyoming workers. To qualify as a Wyoming worker, the worker must be a resident of Wyoming at the time of the application.
“We look forward to supporting the Governor’s Energy Rebound Program by administering this additional funding. The program has proven to be successful in supporting projects and employment within the oil and gas industry,” stated WOGCC Deputy Supervisor Tom Kropatsch. “Our evaluation of the applications and post program reporting to ensure compliance with program rules will be essential in making this version of the Energy Rebound Program as successful as the first.”
The WOGCC will accept applications from June 15 through June 25th.