Powder River Basin News Pulse June 2021

Posted: July 15, 2021

The Powder River Basin | June 2021

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 7/9)

Total Rigs in Wyoming- 10
Total Rigs in United States- 479
Total U.S. Rigs up 86% YTD

State Permitting Data (End of June)
Permits Approved – 6

Powder River Top Producer

Top Producer by BOE – Carbon Creek

Basin Highlights

$12 Million Allocated for Energy Rebound Program

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has announced up to $12 million of the remaining $67 million of coronavirus relief aid money will be allocated toward oil and gas projects through the Energy Rebound Program. The Energy Rebound Program, which was launched in November, was created to boost the state’s oil and gas industry as it recovers from an economic decline by using federal aid as an incentive to push efforts to create jobs and stimulate the economy in Wyoming instead of in other states. “This is about trying to maintain jobs in Wyoming,” said Ryan McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, stressing that projects will still require big investments due to a $500,000 cap on each project.

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Sage Grouse Strikes Again

A judge has put an end to plans for oil and gas drilling across large swaths of Wyoming and Montana, citing concerns about a sagebrush-nesting bird. According to Idaho U.S. District Judge Ronald E. Bush, the US Bureau of Land Management did not fully analyze how drilling might damage the greater sage grouse, nor did it evaluate the possibility of deferring drilling in the bird’s prime habitat. Drilling would have taken place on more than 600 square miles of federal land strewn across energy-rich states. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service decided in 2010 that the bird warranted special protection, but claimed Wyoming conservation efforts made that unnecessary in 2015.

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Judge Sides with Wyoming

The Biden administration’s freeze on federal oil and gas leasing was found to be an overreach of executive power by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana, who ruled that it is “hereby enjoined and restrained from implementing the Pause of new oil and natural gas leases on public lands,” which the administration instituted on Jan. 27 in an effort to address climate change. The Bureau of Land Management is in charge of oil and gas lease sales on federal lands. The BLM must begin quarterly lease sales under Tuesday’s verdict, but it is not required to sell a set quantity of leases. Still, the ruling may not have fully remedied the situation. As staff attorney of the Powder River Basin Resource Council Shannon Anderson puts it, “There’s no legal obligation for [the Department of the Interior] to sell oil and gas resources to industry. There’s no law that makes them do that.”

Article Link

Operators With Most Permits (May)

Hyperlinks to available Q1 2021 Reports

Top Producers BOE (2021 cum)

RankCompanyYTD BOE Production (mbbls) (as of 5/21)
1Carbon Creek387,917
Hyperlinks to available Q1 2021 Reports

Rig Count

Wyoming Oil Production

Wyoming Gas Production

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