Wyoming oil production up in 2012
More efficient drilling and collection technologies including horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing have also allowed operators to increase production.
"Once the price came up, companies could make a profit" in older fields, Hinchey said. "When the older oil fields became very attractive, companies began investing in them again."
In 1978 the first year for which commission data was available statewide production topped
But despite the recent uptick, Wyoming's statewide oil production is still far less than highs set decades ago.
state in production last year, accounting for
Hydraulic fracturing is an oil and natural gas production technique wherein well servicers pump water, sand and chemicals below ground to break rock and free trapped resources.
"I think [oil] has got a good future, at least right now with what's going on," he said. "Technology has certainly made other formations not profitable in past look attractive. I guess we can hope."
"Recently, we had the gas price decline and oil prices stayed high," he said. "Many have switched from natural gas to exploring for oil."
A horizontally drilled oil well allows operators to first drill down into a rock formation, then extend the well horizontally. Some reports have detailed wells that stretch as far as 9,000 feet from the well pad.
Certain Wyoming counties have been especially popular targets for oil exploration.
Hinchey said several enhanced oil recovery projects have recently begun operations around the state. The most common form of enhanced oil recovery is a technique in which carbon dioxide is pumped into the ground to harvest otherwise stranded oil.
according to Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.
Declining prices for natural gas still one of Wyoming's chief natural resources have also aided the rise in oil production. Gas sold for $12 per million British Thermal Units, or BTUs, in 2009, but now sells for about $4 per million BTU.
But state production has since slowed, likely because of an interaction between low prices and reduced drilling, down to about 88 million barrels 20 years ago and 53 million barrels in 2003.
Hinchey said many producers have shifted their attention to oil.
Operators throughout the state produced more than 57 million barrels of oil last year, according to data from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The number represents an 8 percent production bump since 2003 and an 11 percent increase since 2009.
Wyoming oil production is on the upswing after decades of decline, but recent production is still nowhere near the state's all time peak.
Many factors several forms of new technology chief among them are likely behind the rise in production, Nike Cortez Canada Women's
9.6 million barrels. Countywide production is up
In 2003, Converse County operators produced 1.9 million barrels of oil. In 2012, that number rose to 5.2 million barrels, a 160 percent increase in production.
Several other states have also experienced an increased push for oil. Energy Information Administration, daily oil production since 2010 has risen more than 60 percent in the lower 48 states. In that time, North Dakota has tripled its oil output.
Campbell County led the Nike Cortez Nylon Black Size 10
is what's made the oil plays more advantageous and profitable," Hinchey said. "There are technologies we Cortez Shoes White And Black can use now that make an oil well that would have produced 50 or 100 barrels a day into a 1,000 barrel well or 500 barrel well."
Grant Black who took over as state oil and gas supervisor May 1 called the conditions surrounding oil the "perfect storm" for increased production. He said he's also noticed "intense" demand for hearing time before the commission, an indicator of future drilling.
"No one was looking for oil," Hinchey said, adding that a steady increase in natural gas prices in the 1990s and 2000s drew attention from oil.
Several established oil fields also aged, meaning production naturally slowed. But those same fields some now operating 60 years or longer are producing again thanks to new recovery techniques.
Hinchey said he didn't know whether it was reasonable to expect Wyoming to approach the oil production highs established in the 1970s, but he said he had reason to be optimistic.
135 million barrels. Campbell County and Park County alone that year produced more than 60 million barrels more than the entire state's 2012 production.
Production in Laramie County has also taken off, although the county still isn't among the state's major oil producers. The county produced just more than 300,000 barrels in 2003 compared to just more than 1 million barrels last year, an increase of more than 230 percent.
Drilling in the county should continue to ramp up in 2013. Operators have submitted 558 applications to drill for oil or natural gas in the county since August 2012. The commission received 336 such applications in all of 2011.
29 percent since 2009, but down 6 percent in the past decade.
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