2023 Wyoming Spills

May 8, 2024

2023 Wyoming Spills

May 8, 2024

Since 2017, the amount of drilling-related liquid spilled annually in Wyoming has gone down, while annual oil production has stayed about the same. This indicates that regulations meant to curb spills work and do not negatively impact production.

Reported oil and gas spills in Wyoming increased in number and by volume in 2023 as compared to 2022. There were 730 spills reported in 2023, containing 1,403,440 gallons of oil and drilling-related materials. That’s 22 percent more volume than was reported spilled in 2022 and 50 percent more spills.

Oil production in Wyoming in 2023 was up six percent compared to 2022. Around 20 percent more liquid was reported spilled and the total number of spills was up 50 percent, indicating Wyoming has regressed in terms of the amount of liquid spilled relative to total production.

Forty-three percent of all spills occurred in just two counties—Campbell and Converse, which are located in the oil-rich Powder River Basin—and 44 percent were caused by just five companies.

Merit Energy Company spilled 242,871 gallons of drilling-related liquid in 2023, the most of any operator in Wyoming. Contango Oil and Gas spilled the second-most, at 124,594 gallons. Notably, Contango reported spilling 64 times more drilling-related liquid in 2023 as compared to 2022. Contango produced only eight percent more oil in 2023, indicating the company’s rate of spills went up drastically.

A few notes about the data

Since spill data is self-reported by the oil and gas companies responsible for the spills, the true number of spills and volume of spilled material in Wyoming is likely higher than those included in this report. Finally, the methodology used to calculate this year’s report differs from that of reports prior to 2022. Therefore, data from this year’s report should not be used in combination with data from 2022 and older. Data should also not be compared across states, as reporting requirements and processes differ state to state.

*This text and the accompanying charts were updated on May 23, 2024 to reflect the correct number of spills that occurred in 2023 in Wyoming. 

2023 state spills trackers