CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has voted to update its permit application process.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported the vote Tuesday was in response to a historic influx of drilling requests in the state.

Officials say the change provides an opportunity for new bidders to challenge inactive operators.

The commission has received nearly 66,000 applications for renewable drilling permits from oil and gas operators in the past three years.

Officials say that if a permit's two-year lifespan ends without an operator advancing drilling activity, others with a working interest will have a window of time to apply for a permit.

The updated guidelines seek to enable smaller companies and operators to extract what is believed to be large amounts of minerals in untapped areas of land.

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