The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) defines stripper wells as those wells producing 10 barrels of oil or less per day. Stripper oil wells produce marginal oil which is oil produced from wells that operate on the lower edge of profitability. Nebraska had 1,473 stripper oil wells in 2007 (0.4 percent of the nation's 396,537 stripper wells). Shown in the table below, these 1,473 stripper wells produced 1,634,975 barrels of oil or 70 percent of Nebraska's oil production. Using 2007's average wellhead oil price in Nebraska of $62.78 per barrel, without the stripper oil wells' production, an additional $103 million would have been spent on crude oil imports. While each individual well in Nebraska contributed only a small amount of oil (3.04 barrels a day, on average), combined with the rest of the nation, stripper well production was more than 291 million barrels of oil (or 28.4 percent of the total one billion barrels of oil produced in the United States) saving $19.4 billion on additional imports to the nation. (The nation's average wellhead oil price in 2007 was $66.52 per barrel.)
Thirty states produce oil from stripper wells: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Within this group, in 2007, Nebraska was ranked tenth highest in average daily production per well, 18th highest in oil production from stripper wells, 19th highest in total oil production, and 19th highest in the number of stripper oil wells.
Many states have programs that allow a well to temporarily stop production. These idle wells are not included in the abandoned well column of the table below; only wells that have been permanently plugged are included. Also, orphaned wells are not included in the table's abandoned well figures. These are wells that are not producing, have not been plugged, and whose owners are either insolvent or cannot be located.
Sources: "Marginal Oil and Gas: Fuel for Economic Growth." Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Oklahoma City, OK. Nebraska Energy Office, Lincoln, NE.
Notes: The number of wells is estimated for 1997. NA = no data available.
This table was updated on July 28, 2009. Typically, there is one year between updates.