Proposed Changes Wyoming Energy Leases Bring Criticism

Cheyenne, WY – Oil and gas representatives are voicing criticism about the first proposed changes to Wyoming's oil and gas leasing contract in nearly three decades.

The Office of State Lands and Investments has proposed rewriting almost the entire standard oil and gas leasing contract. The most controversial proposal would raise the maximum amount for state royalties from 16 2/3 percent to 18 3/4 percent.

State Lands and Investments assistant director Harold Kemp tells the Casper Star-Tribune that the royalty hike will bring Wyoming in line with royalty rates in other states.

Oil and gas industry representatives Wednesday questioned the wisdom of a royalty hike, saying it would actually lead to a decrease in state revenues because energy companies would choose cheaper leases on federal and private land.