Powder River Basin News Pulse September 2020

Posted: October 14, 2020

The Powder River Basin| September 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 September)

Total Rigs in Wyoming: 1
Total Rigs in United States: 261
Total U.S. Rigs down 70% YTD

State Top Producers

Top Oil Producer-
Top Gas Producer-

Financial & Economic Updates

No More Fracturing, No More Funding

A study from the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and the API highlights just how devastating a federal land ban could be. The key takeaway is that 33,000 hobs could be lost in Wyoming alone, along with $640 in state revenue. Wyoming is a little larger than 60 million surface acres, and nearly half is considered federal land. Currently the BLM auctions off parcels of this land roughly 4 times a year bringing in a ton of financial returns to the state. Lease sales generated $117 million for the state in 2019 alone between royalties and direct sales returns. If future administration was to outlaw the sale of this land, it would need to fully understand how states like Wyoming would perceive that, and the resulting voting response.

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State Highlights

Trump to Fast Track Projects

The Trump administration attempted to push an executive order to battle the effects of COVID on energy infrastructure. The proposed order would rush these projects in an attempt to stoke economic development that has slumped amid the pandemic. In Wyoming, 3 projects were targeted: the Converse County Oil and Gas Project, the recently approved Moneta Divide Natural Gas and Oil Development Project, and the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. Under Trump’s order, these projects would be able to push through restrictions enacted by NEPA or the Endangered Species Act further accelerating their development. Many have welcomed the order and looked on with eagerness as these projects proceed, but still others are upset as they feel this is not a warranted response from the threat of COVID. Some fear this will promote corner cutting and rushed environmental impact statements. Those in support of this executive order have replied to the aforementioned concerns by saying these projects have been in development and review for the better part of a decade, so the term “fast-tracked” may not be fully applicable.

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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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