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Gov. Mark Gordon announces second round of Energy Rebound applications
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OIL AND GAS

Gov. Mark Gordon announces second round of Energy Rebound applications

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Orphaned wells

Bill West checks for built-up natural gas from a coal-bed methane wellhead in 2015 on his family’s ranch near Arvada. The Wests had about 100 orphaned High Plains Gas coal-bed methane wells on their property at the time. Applications for the second round of a federal energy relief program will be accepted starting next week.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday that up to $12 million of Wyoming’s currently remaining $67 million of CARES Act money will be put toward oil and gas projects through the Energy Rebound Program. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will accept applications for funding from June 15 through 25.

The program, which was created in November of last year, is geared toward boosting the state’s struggling oil and gas industry as it recovers from the recent economic collapse of energy markets. Specifically, the relief will go toward drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells, wells that were unable to be re-completed, and plugging and abandonment projects that couldn’t be finished due to the pandemic.

The program is aimed at creating energy jobs and economic stimulus in the state, in part by using federal money as an incentive to kickstart their efforts in Wyoming as opposed to outside of the state.

“This about trying to keep jobs in Wyoming,” said Ryan McConnaughey, communications director for the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.

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Of the $12 million, however, each project can only receive a maximum of $500,000. This amount is not nearly enough to fund entire projects and they will likely “require massive private investment as well,” McConnaughey said.

When the program was created in November of last year, it was initially allocated $15 million from the CARES Act, but there was so much demand that the governor’s office doubled the amount to $30 million. All of that amount was awarded, said Michael Pearlman, Gordon’s director of communications. The Wyoming Business Council estimated that the last round of Energy Rebound Program projects will churn out more than $150 million in oil and natural gas over 2021.

The state currently has $67 million remaining in unallocated CARES Act money, but that total could shift because funds get redirected if they are not spent.

Applications open at 10 a.m. June 15 and close at 10 a.m. June 25. More information is available at sites.google.com/wyo.gov/oil-and-gas/news-announcements/energy-rebound-program.

Follow state politics reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis

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