By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily
On Friday, the average price of gas in Wyoming increased by 1 cent per gallon over the previous 24 hours to average $4.05 per gallon.
The website GasBuddy.com, which tracks national gas prices, reported Wyoming’s average gas price was down 5.3 cents per gallon from one week ago and was up by $1.20 per gallon from one year ago.
Wyoming’s average price for gasoline remained below the national average of $4.128 for a gallon of regular.
*The average price per gallon of regular in each Wyoming county:
Albany $3.87; Big Horn $4.04; Campbell $3.98; Carbon $4.08; Converse $3.91; Crook $4.01; Fremont $4.15; Goshen $3.90; Hot Springs $4.10; Johnson $4.01; Laramie $3.98; Lincoln $4.04; Natrona $3.90; Niobrara $4.04; Park $4.14; Platte, $4.04; Sheridan $3.99; Sublette $4.04; Sweetwater $4.15; Teton $4.04; Uinta $4.32; Washakie $4.04; and Weston $3.99
The big movers today were Campbell County, down 18 cents per gallon and Lincoln County, down 30 cents.
*The lowest price per gallon, reported in major Wyoming cities:
Basin $4.15; Buffalo $3.95; Casper $3.89; Cheyenne $3.94; Cody $4.10; Douglas $3.78; Evanston $4.25; Gillette $3.99; Jackson $4.37; Kemmerer $4.29; Laramie $3.79; Lusk $3.99; New Castle $3.92; Pinedale $4.13; Rawlins $3.99; Riverton $3.99; Rock Springs $4.09; Sheridan $3.98; Sundance $3.97; Thermopolis $4.07; Wheatland $3.88; Worland $4.08.
When oil consumption goes up, you would think that the laws of supply and demand would cause an immediate increase in production, right? Not always. Let me try to explain.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, it doesn’t always look like there’s a rush to “drill baby, drill.” There are many steps from hole in the ground to nozzle in the tank and they all take time.
Let’s take a look at those steps to get to your local gas station.
The first step would be identifying a site to drill. This is complex geologist voodoo that requires walking around with two sticks, and when they cross, well, “X” marks the spot.
I jest, but the process really is complex and it takes time to find a “reservoir.”
Once a site is located, a lease must be obtained before drilling can begin. There are landowner mineral rights to consider and if the oil is on public lands, the federal government has its own unique process for obtaining a lease.
After you lease a plot of land, then what? You have to get permits to drill before hauling out a drilling rig and poking holes in the ground.
Again, the government has its requirements. There are environmental impacts studies to be done and then those studies must be studied. I wish that part was a joke but it’s not.
The approved and permitted site then must be prepared for drilling. Preparation takes a relatively short period of time, normally about three weeks. Prepping a site can include clearing and fencing, construction of a fracking pond and getting the necessary equipment to the site.
This is followed by the actual drilling prep, which adds another one to three weeks, when the rig itself is set up.
Now drilling can begin! Drilling a 10,000-foot well can take two to four weeks, and if it’s an offshore well, it can take three to four months. That’s just to reach the reservoir. Once the well is drilled, the drilling rig must be removed and preparations must be made for fracking.
It takes about a week to prepare for fracking, and then another 10 days to carry out the process itself. Once the prep is done, adding production tubing can take another week, followed by two to three weeks of “flowback.” This is the early production stage during when oil and gas are mixed with water and sand.
The largest oil and gas fields can average one to five years from being discovered to first production and require 17 years of production to reach peak output.
Now the oil can be pumped, piped and shipped to refineries.
Once the oil has gone through a quality control analysis that lasts about 12 hours, the actual refining process can begin — and continue for about another 12 hours. So in and out in 24 hours, not bad huh?
All in all, the round trip from the ground to tank can take as long as five years and a day. That gives us plenty of time to fill a 72-ounce soda and heat up a burrito at our favorite gas station.
*Note: Prices in this report are for reference only. They are gathered just prior to posting, and may not reflect prices that have changed since last posted.