“Our phone’s been ringing off the hook as far as people that want a joint venture with us,” Wold says.

The wide-open land here is now filling up with trucks that kick up dirt on new roads. “I would call it a pre-boom, absolutely,” says Wold. “We ought to call it recognition of economic exploration for Wyoming.”

Analysts say a perfect storm is making the country’s largest coal state more favorable for oil and gas. Higher oil prices are certainly one factor, says Carl Larry, who advises oil and gas companies with the financial consulting firm Refinitiv in Houston.

So is better technology for hydraulic fracturing, which allows wells to extract a lot more oil and gas than they used to from the same land. “It makes it more efficient, and I think that’s where we’re seeing the results on profitability,” Larry says.