With Wyoming’s shale oil industry still very much in its infancy, a large volume of state-owned natural gas is going up in smoke, and along with it a small fortune in royalties that are supposed to fund our public schools. According to the Office of State Lands and Investments — which has the fiduciary responsibility to maximize revenue from state-owned lands and minerals to fund Wyoming schools — estimates that 411,789 thousand cubic feet (mcf) of gas was flared from October 2009 to October 2011. That’s an approximate loss of $200,000 to Wyoming’s K-12 students.
There will be a public meeting Friday afternoon in Cheyenne to discuss proposed revisions to the standard lease form for state-owned oil and natural gas — the first such revision in 20 years to clarify and update bonding, valuation, royalties and other business regarding state-owned oil and gas resources. The public meeting will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Herschler Building, in conference room 1699. The revisions were first made public last fall, and were sharply criticized by some in the oil and gas industry because of a provision to raise the maximum royalty rate.