Powder River Basin News Pulse August 2023

Posted: September 28, 2023

The Powder River Basin | August 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- 20 (-)
Total Rigs in the United States- 630 (-2)
Total U.S. Rigs 17.5% YTD

State Permitting Data
Permits Approved (10/1/2022 to 4/30/2023) – 279

Powder River Top Producer

Top Producer – EOG

Basin Highlights

OneRock Energy Buys 160,000 Acres in Powder River Basin

According to a recent press release, Northwoods Management Co. and some related entities in the Powder River Basin have been fully acquired by OneRock Energy Holdings LLC. The assets and land, which cover 160,000 net acres across Converse, Campbell, and Johnson counties in Wyoming and produce an average of 5,000 boe/d, are mostly contained in contiguous leaseholds. The deal was first revealed in June by Pan Management’s investment arm, OneRock, a private equity firm. With support from Apollo, Northwoods acquired more than 112,000 acres in the Powder River Basin in 2018 by paying $500 million to SM Energy Co.

Occidental Petroleum misses on quarterly profit, no more money for Powder River

Occidental Petroleum increased its full-year production forecast by 1%, but due to a decline in oil and gas prices, it missed second-quarter profit expectations and had to take a writedown to close some operations. The company increased its full-year production guidance by 1% to between 1.19 million boepd and 1.24 million boepd from a midpoint of 1.195 million as a result of the quarter’s better-than-expected output. Additionally, Occidental announced that it would forgo further exploration in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and recorded an impairment charge for the properties totaling $164 million after taxes.

Demonizing Oil Claims Another Casualty: Petroleum Engineers

Oil companies are having trouble hiring enough petroleum engineers, and universities are graduating fewer petroleum engineers than ever despite the attractive salaries they offer. 

The University of Wyoming awarded Linnae Lueken, a research fellow with the Heartland Institute, a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. She told Cowboy State Daily that a significant portion of the issue is due to the policies of the Biden administration, the information that children are taught about fossil fuels in public school settings, and the media. But, according to Lueken, the oil firms and trade groups are also at fault. They largely submit and take it instead of standing up to those who demonize them.

Most Permit Approvals by Operator

3Navigation Powder River4
4Continental Resources3
51876 Resources LLC2

Top Producers – Oil

RankCompanyMonthly Oil Production (MBO)
2Anschutz Corp703
3Continental Resources694
5Crescent Energy Company453

Top Producers – Gas

RankCompanyMonthly Gas Production (MMCF)
3Carbon Creek Energy4,688
4Continental Resources2,766

Rig Count

Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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