Powder River Basin News Pulse April 2022

Posted: May 24, 2022

The Powder River Basin | April 2022

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 hydraulic 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

Total Rigs in Wyoming- 16 (+1)
Total Rigs in United States – 728 (+336)
Total U.S. Rigs 37.5% YTD

State Permitting Data
Permits Approved – 30

Powder River Top Producer

Top Producer by Oil – EOG

Top Producer by Gas – Carbon Creek

Basin Highlights

Wyoming Oil and Gas Jobs Above 8,000 Again

As of February 2022 Wyoming employs 8,200 oil and gas workers, up from last year’s February high of 7,300 workers. While employment is on the rise again following lows brought on by Covid-19, it still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels of around 12,00 workers. While other industries are either at or above pre-pandemic employment levels, the oil and gas industry is lagging behind, even if it is still slowly recovering. 

Wyoming’s Underground Fuel Storage Tanks Have Nation-High 93% Compliance Rate

Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) monitors and regulates things like underground storage tanks for compliance with environmental standards. Underground storage tanks include those at gas stations and emergency backups for generators. Of all the DEQ’s across the country Wyoming boasts the best compliance rate at 93%, compared to the average national rate at just 57.8%. A high compliance rate means fewer leaks and earlier detection/management of the leaks that do happen, saving money and saving the environment. 

Resumed Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Land “Leaves a Lot to be Desired”

Federal land is back on the leasing market for oil and gas development! What should be a good thing after months of waiting for a court decision to strike down Biden’s moratorium on lease sales is tainted by the details of the decision. On the market is 80% less land than was originally set to hit auction, not only that, but royalty rates on federal land will be raised to 18.75% from the decades long 12.5% rate. Pete Obermueller, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming remarked that the lease decision “…leaves a lot to be desired,” and that “They did the bare minimum that they could do and comply with the law.”

Wind Power Company Fined Millions After It Pleads Guilty to Killing 150 Eagles

Fossil fuel companies are often made out to be the villians in a story where renewables are the heroes. Truth is, both energy sources are guilty of environmental harm, one such example of renewables taking the blame is a recent court case in Wyoming. ESI Energy was recently fined $8 million for pleading guilty to killing several golden eagles. They were also responsible for the deaths of over 150 other birds including bald eagles, and were tasked with implementing $27 million worth of changes to reduce bird deaths. 

Operators With Most Permits in WY

1Wexpro Company12
2Anschutz Exploration7
3Ultra Resources5
4Devon Energy3
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2021 Reports

Top Producers Oil

ChangeRankCompanymmbbls Production (Jan-Feb/22)
2Devon Energy1.09
3Chesapeake Operating1.08
4Anadarko (OXY)1.01
-45Continental Resources0.91
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2021 Reports

Top Producers Gas

ChangeRankCompanyMMCF Production (Jan-Feb/22)
1Carbon Creek15088
3Chesapeake Operating6582
4Anadarko (OXY)2951
5Devon Energy1771
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2021 Reports

Rig Count

Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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