Powder River Basin News Pulse October 2020

Posted: November 20, 2020

The Powder River Basin| October 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 October)

Total Rigs in Wyoming- 3
Total Rigs in United States- 296
Total U.S. Rigs down 65% YTD

State Top Producers

Top Oil Producer-
Top Gas Producer-

Basin Highlights

Windy Wyoming

The Powder River Basin has been home to many natural resources like coal, oil, and gas, but in steps a newer source of energy. NextEra Energy Resources is developing a $600 million, 400 megawatt wind farm that should see 192 turbines erected by the end of 2020. The project has employed approximately 400 people during construction which includes about 50 displaced oil and gas workers, and has maintained a team of this size for several months now. Plenty of contractors that typically service the oilfield were also able to support the construction thanks to the synergies between wind farm construction and hydrocarbon extraction. NextEra targeted the converse county area because the infrastructure for transmission already exists for when the energy is generated. So far, the company has erected a little more than 132 of 192 wind turbine towers although they are silent at the moment. The project has been wildly successful in the region because investors were looking to move their money away from coal, and this project seemed to be a likely candidate.

Article Link

What A Federal Drilling Ban Means for Wyoming

While Basin Breakdown is written a month after the fact, president elect Joe Biden had not yet been confirmed the winner at the time the source of this article was written. Regardless, the article analyzed what would happen to Wyoming if Biden was elected. Nationwide, only about 10% of oil and gas production, both conventional and unconventional, occurs on federal land. Doesn’t seem like too big of a deal until you consider the fact that 51% of oil is drilled on federal land in Wyoming, and a whopping 92% of natural gas. That is 38% of the natural gas produced on federal lands nationally. Although operators are saying that this doesn’t make much sense, Senator Eli Bebout is calling for Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee the state needs to diversify its tax base to buffer from the decline in fossil fuels’ associated revenues in the future. This may be a good idea since Wyoming is heavily dependent on federal money, and typically generates most of its revenue from oil and gas production. President of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Pete Obermueller said, “Banning fracking and leasing in Wyoming does nothing to reduce U.S. emissions as production will simply shift to private lands states like North Dakota and Texas. According to the former Vice President, fracking is fine in Pennsylvania and Ohio because he needs their votes, but it’s not okay in Wyoming.”

Article Link

Top Oil Producers (2020 cum)

4FDL Operating2,293,968
5Ballard Petro. Holdngs1,943,912

Top Gas Producers (2020 cum)

1Carbon Creek47,045,747
5Peak Powder River6,536,036


Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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