Powder River Basin News Pulse November 2020

Posted: December 15, 2020

The Powder River Basin| November 2020

Field Overview

The Powder River Basin, known for its coal deposits, is located in Southeast Montana and Northeast Wyoming. The basin is named so because it is drained by the Powder River. Major cities in the area include Gillete and Sheridan, Wyoming and Miles City, Montana. There is a recent resurgence in oil and gas production as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraullic fracturing. This resurgence is occurring mainly in the Wyoming part of the basin, which is historically known as the source of the basin’s oil.

State Drilling Statistics (End of November)

Total Rigs in Wyoming- 2
Total Rigs in United States- 320
Total U.S. Rigs down 60% YTD

State Top Producers

Top Oil Producer-
Top Gas Producer-

Basin Highlights

Judge Blocks Leasing

In early November, a federal court judge blocked drilling on more than 300,000 acres of land in Wyoming claiming that the government failed to adequately consider its impact on climate change.The judge ordered the environmental analysis for 282 oil and gas leases be sent back to the BLM for additional study. This is the second time in two years Judge Ralph Contreras issued such a ruling on the same set of leases. The Judge claims supplemental analysis from the BLM failed to consider cumulative impacts of leases in the region and country whilst simultaneously failing to comply with NEPA. In addition to the Judge, environmental groups WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility accused the Obama administration of failing to account for potential emissions generated by oil and gas activity on leased parcels within Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. The Trump administration has worked to fight this lawsuit, but this is likely just the beginning of the fight against industry in the West.

Article Link

Taking a Page out of North Dakota’s Finance Book

North Dakota was one of the first of the largest oil producing states to use CARES act money to alleviate some of the economic stress that the oil and gas industry has been experiencing. Now, Wyoming chooses to follow in their footsteps as Governor Mark Gordon says, “These funds will have a direct impact on Wyoming’s employment rate and put people back to work in our oil and gas sector.” Even so, select groups like the Powder River Basin Resource Council feel this is a misallocation of funds expressing that they would rather see the money go to a project with a public purpose like plugging and abandoning wells instead of “subsidizing select private companies.” As of late 2019, there are 3,000 orphan wells in Wyoming. Either way, Wyoming has plenty of ways to spend its CARES money before the end of the year as it is already struggling with depressed oil and gas prices, the phasing out of coal, and COVID

Article Link

Top Oil Producers (2020 cum)

4FDL Operating3,022,567
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2020 Reports

Top Gas Producers (2020 cum)

1Carbon Creek58,311,465
5Peak Powder River8,016,948
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2020 Reports


Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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