Powder River Basin News Pulse April 2023

Posted: May 21, 2023

The Powder River Basin | April 2023

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 Gillette 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, historically known as the source of the basin’s oil.

State Drilling Statistics

Total Rigs in Wyoming- 15 (-5)
Total Rigs in the United States- 720 (-11)
Total U.S. Rigs 1.0% YTD

State Permitting Data
Permits Approved – 44

Powder River Top Producer

Top Producer – EOG

Basin Highlights

As Natural Gas Prices Tumble, Wyoming Coal Hangs On

The two major coal companies in Wyoming–Arch Resources and Peabody Energy–both delivered strong first quarter profits, with Arch netting $198.1 million and Peabody netting $268.5 million. Nine of the top 15 coal mines in the US are located in the prolific Powder River Basin. With gas prices tumbling to nearly $2/MMBtu, coal producers are worried about the immediate future of coal prices, which is competitive in power generation with natural gas when gas is at or above $3/MMBtu.

EOG Resources Recognized as 2022 Recipient of Game and Fish Industry Wildlife Stewardship Award

EOG Resources won the 2022 Industry Wildlife Stewardship Award, an award given to “companies whose primary mission is not wildlife-related, but who choose to make a positive impact through development and improvement for the benefit of fish, wildlife, or habitat”. EOG won this award for extraordinary efforts in reclaiming disturbed oil and gas sites, monitoring wildlife resources, and lessening impacts on the environment.

PRB Coal Production Steady in Early 2023

Rail transport issues in Wyoming have complicated coal production and export in Wyoming but have not reduced production to amounts far below production volumes observed in the early part of last year. The 12 Powder River Basin coal mines collectively produced 58 million tons of coal in the first quarter of 2023, keeping them on pace with 2022’s production levels. Coal production in the Powder River Basin tumbled during 2020, but increased in 2021 and in 2022.

Most Permit Approvals by Operator

3Ballard Petroleum4
3Bright Rock4

Top Producers – Oil

RankCompanyApril Oil Production (MBO)
1Continental Resources767
2Anschutz Corp749
5Crescent Energy Company452

Top Producers – Gas

RankCompanyApril Gas Production (MMCF)
3Carbon Creek Energy4,727
4Continental Resources2,839

Rig Count

Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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