Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

Air Water Land Energy

Nebraska Energy Statistics

Drilling Permits Issued for
Development and Exploratory Wells in
Nebraska

The number of permits for development and exploratory wells includes both crude oil wells and natural gas wells. In 2020, the number of development permits (eight) issued dropped 74 percent from the 31 development permits issued in 2019. The number of exploratory permits issued nearly doubled from the number of exploratory permits issued in 2019. The number of both types of permits peaked in 1981 with development well permits reaching 374 and exploratory well permits reaching 354.

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chart showing Drilling Permits Issued for Development and Exploratory Wells in Nebraska.

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Drilling Permits Issued for
Development Wells in Nebraska
1975 – 2020

(Number of Permits)

Development
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Total 1
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Total 1
Development
2020 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 8
2019 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 31
2018 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 42
2017 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 54
2016 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 40
2015 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 60
2014 12 8 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 129
2013 5 8 6 10 4 14 10 10 8 9 7 13 102
2012 4 5 7 4 12 11 7 4 2 7 2 6 50
2011 4 0 11 17 7 16 6 14 8 13 7 8 107
2010 5 1 9 7 10 8 3 5 6 10 6 8 73
2009 5 1 0 4 1 4 4 0 11 2 2 13 42
2008 2 5 24 24 15 32 15 4 26 7 9 2 165
2007 3 10 2 1 5 6 22 43 7 15 21 7 146
2006 5 2 4 2 3 2 8 2 3 7 1 3 48
2005 0 3 2 3 5 5 12 8 4 5 5 3 54
2004 1 0 1 13 2 1 0 9 6 0 1 6 1 42
2003 2 0 1 0 3 0 5 4 1 0 1 5 25
2002 1 0 0 0 3 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 15
2001 0 6 0 0 2 3 2 0 0 0 3 3 19
2000 1 3 1 4 2 2 7 1 0 2 2 1 27
1999 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 2 2 3 11
1998 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 1 2 0 2 15
1997 5 5 4 4 6 4 1 2 12 10 4 10 67
1996 1 4 4 5 2 4 4 3 3 2 5 2 39
1995 3 2 1 0 3 2 5 2 1 3 3 1 28
1994 2 5 3 0 1 3 4 1 1 1 0 9 30
1993 2 3 5 5 3 3 5 14 6 16 5 2 69
1992 4 5 9 3 2 1 4 3 7 8 1 5 52
1991 16 3 10 11 8 12 4 5 3 7 1 4 84
1990 4 7 7 5 5 3 6 8 8 7 3 4 67
1989 1 4 6 3 6 2 0 6 5 4 5 6 47
1988 0 3 5 9 9 10 5 6 4 6 4 6 67
1987 5 8 5 6 14 11 9 6 6 9 6 7 92
1986 9 4 3 4 1 4 2 1 6 4 7 5 50
1985 23 9 10 12 7 8 8 8 15 19 12 11 142
1984 13 15 10 22 17 14 17 9 9 8 24 12 170
1983 16 13 13 22 18 24 9 14 15 18 17 7 185
1982 23 15 17 7 13 20 22 12 11 12 15 22 191
1981 27 29 22 56 40 30 44 20 24 24 26 32 374
1980 21 27 25 30 28 32 23 16 22 32 30 27 311
1979 0 22 22 27 14 20 17 20 16 18 26 33 255
1978 9 10 11 23 17 24 11 17 18 20 17 21 168
1977 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 13 19 14 18 237
1976 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 144
1975 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 160

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Drilling Permits Issued for
Exploratory (or Wildcat) Wells in Nebraska
1975 – 2020

(Number of Permits)

Exploratory
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Total 1
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Total 1
Exploratory
2020 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 21
2019 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 12
2018 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 23
2017 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 29
2016 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 28
2015 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 42
2014 12 9 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 92
2013 5 5 4 5 11 10 6 6 8 10 9 4 83
2012 2 5 11 3 7 5 2 9 7 10 6 4 90
2011 9 6 7 3 9 6 4 4 5 3 10 18 75
2010 5 7 5 3 2 13 4 11 10 3 5 4 77
2009 2 0 0 7 0 2 5 3 5 4 2 5 35
2008 1 2 15 22 15 7 19 27 19 28 5 2 162
2007 1 6 17 4 11 3 13 11 5 9 12 2 88
2006 0 3 2 0 1 22 15 7 2 20 0 2 76
2005 1 1 5 4 4 6 3 2 6 3 3 4 43
2004 0 0 1 0 5 5 5 4 1 5 7 2 35
2003 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 3 1 1 18
2002 2 1 2 3 2 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 15
2001 1 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 6 1 4 0 15
2000 5 3 3 1 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 21
1999 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 2 4 6 1 1 18
1998 0 0 0 1 2 0 3 0 4 1 1 3 15
1997 6 1 5 2 3 2 0 1 2 4 5 3 34
1996 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 3 1 1 2 2 14
1995 0 1 1 2 7 0 0 5 1 4 1 2 24
1994 2 2 4 1 4 1 2 3 5 4 2 6 36
1993 3 6 5 2 1 0 12 3 7 7 5 3 54
1992 1 4 4 2 1 1 5 9 10 4 10 7 58
1991 0 1 7 8 5 4 3 5 4 6 7 6 56
1990 3 3 5 3 7 11 7 5 10 8 7 4 73
1989 4 3 4 3 5 14 3 2 4 6 6 7 61
1988 10 7 8 6 5 5 7 8 8 7 4 6 81
1987 6 7 9 6 4 14 12 13 14 13 12 13 123
1986 22 8 8 3 5 6 2 2 8 7 7 14 92
1985 9 13 14 9 15 16 22 14 18 9 19 18 176
1984 13 14 15 10 14 17 13 25 26 31 31 26 235
1983 15 13 12 20 13 9 19 16 35 19 18 26 216
1982 26 22 27 18 15 13 13 15 18 20 27 47 261
1981 27 22 16 23 15 50 27 39 23 34 41 37 354
1980 45 21 20 19 27 17 14 13 34 41 34 24 309
1979 35 0 20 25 20 18 36 20 24 38 37 30 320
1978 26 20 21 29 21 20 24 30 31 22 20 23 275
1977 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 27 32 17 40 267
1976 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 202
1975 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 212

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Sources: "Nebraska Oil Activity Summary." Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Sidney, NE. Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, Lincoln, NE.

Notes: NA = Not Available. Monthly numbers are not available before September, 1977, and after February, 2014. Numbers in red have been revised.

1 The annual total is compiled after corrections and updates have been made which are not reflected in the monthly reports, so the annual total will not always equal the total of the monthly numbers.

2 Kinder Morgan received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for ten (10) permits which will allow drilling ten development wells into their gas storage units to improve deliverability.

The graph and tables were updated on January 18, 2022.
Typically, there is one year between updates.

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