Wyoming has a number of firsts going for it: the first state that gave women the right to vote, for example, and the first to have a national park and monument (Yellowstone and Devil’s Tower respectively).
But in at least one instance, being second is still a pretty good thing – the state is second only to Texas when it comes to the marketing of natural gas. In fact, it produces as much as the Gulf of Mexico.
That’s the kind of message you want to get out. And behind every successful petroleum exploration-driven state, you might say, lies (or should lie) a successful, vibrant state geological website.
According to proponents, www.wogcc.state.wy.us is the first stop for any professional, be it private or public, who wants or needs to find out more about what goes on in Wyoming.
The website, says AAPG member Fred Crockett, BLM-Wyoming Reservoir Management Group, “is a powerful source of information for oil and gas companies and consultants.”
He’s not alone in his praise.
According to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Wyoming has one of the country’s most advanced and interactive web-based reporting systems.
The site offers Wyoming well coordinates, production data, permit approvals and formation tops. Also, there are links to outside information, including federal leasing data from the Bureau of Land Management and programs, mapping ability from the University of Wyoming and tax information.
“The WOGCC website is my primary source of data for working Wyoming,” says AAPG member Lynette D.W. George, a consulting geologist in Casper who’s also on the Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists.
Due to the site, she said, much of her work is faster and easier.
“Production data for wells can be downloaded and fed into Petra and a variety of other analysis tools,” she said. “I review completion reports and sundry notices online to further round out a data set.”
She particularly values that the website facilitates collaboration among individual consultants because it establishes a common pool of data.
A look at the site shows it’s accessible to a wide range of interested parties, from WOGCC staff members to geologists to petroleum engineers to land men to, perish the thought, lawyers.
No mention of the site, though, its importance, or its existence, for that matter, can be complete without mentioning the work of Rick Marvell, whom Crockett says was and is the "driving force" behind the site.
"Rick has spent several thousand hours of his own time studying, conceptualizing, designing and formatting data for the website over the last 12 years," Crockett said.
In recognition of his work, both with the site and Wyoming geology in general, Marvel was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the Wyoming Geological Association – the only non-geologist to receive such an honor.
For his part, Marvel, engineering manager for the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC), says the site is recording 1,000 hits/day.
"And because operators can track each other through the website," he said in a recent interview, "looking for tops, casing points, or perforation intervals, the learning curve has been accelerated."
Additionally, Marvel talked of the sites cache of hyperlink information to a variety of software programs, which allows users to import information directly into Geographix, ArcView and Excel.
Lynette George says that, along with the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division website, "I have found no other state website to be as valuable and as easy to use as the WOGCC website.
“Rick has worked long and hard on the website,” she said. “His knowledge, understanding and insights about oil and gas information have been essential to the success of the website.
"As a citizen of Wyoming and a geologist, I am grateful for him and the WOGCC website."
Something on which the other 544,269 Wyomingites might agree.
Along with Wyoming, several websites in the Rocky Mountain region provide a valuable and necessary stop for geologists.
♦ Utah – http://www.geology.utah.gov.
The Utah Geological Survey provides information about the state's geologic environment, resources and hazards. Programs include: Energy and Minerals; Geologic Hazards; Geologic Mapping; Geologic Information and Outreach; and Ground Water and Paleontology.
♦ Idaho – http://www.idahogeology.org.
The site offers information on the state's publications; mines and minerals; digital data; geologic hazards; oil and gas; hydrogeology, geologic mapping; and earth science education. There also are special sections on “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country” and “Your Handbook to Idaho Earthquakes.”
♦ Nevada – http://www.nbmg.unr.edu.
The site, belonging to the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG), is a research and public service unit of the University of Nevada. NBMG cooperates with numerous state and federal agencies in conducting research and in providing geologic and resource information.
♦ Montana – http://www.mgmb.mtech.edu.
Housed at Montana Tech (part of the University of Montana system), the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG), a non-regulatory state agency that has collected and published information on Montana’s geology since 1919. Its mission is to promote orderly and responsible development of the state’s energy, groundwater and mineral resources.
♦ New Mexico – http://www.nmgs.nmt.edu.
The New Mexico Geological Society, an AAPG affiliate, promotes interest in geology and associated sciences, fosters scientific research and publications, encourages cooperation among its members and stimulates interest in New Mexico geology. The site also gives information on scholarships to students in the state's colleges and universities.
♦ Arizona – http://www.azgs.state.az.us.
The site serves as a primary source to enhance public understanding of Arizona's geologic character, geologic hazards and limitations, and mineral resources, providing both technical advice to geologists and state and local governmental agencies.
♦ North Dakota – http://www.dmr.nd.gov.
Of particular note, there is a special section dedicated to the Bakken shale and the evolving play at the Three Forks facility.
♦ Colorado – http://www.geosurvey.state.co.us.
The Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) helps reduce the impact of geologic hazards on the citizens of Colorado, promotes responsible economic development of mineral and energy resources, provides geologic insight, avalanche safety training and forecasting and geologic advice and information to a variety of constituencies.