The Powder River Basin | May 2022
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 – 753 (+25)
Total U.S. Rigs 60% YTD
State Permitting Data
Permits Approved – 30
Powder River Top Producer
Top Producer by Oil – EOG
Top Producer by Gas – Carbon Creek
While a court order from Louisiana forced the Department of Interior to resume leasing sales in June, Wyoming doubled down and argued in district court that the Biden administration’s pausing of new oil and gas leases was illegal. This all comes as states are putting pressure on the DoI to open up federal leasing after 15 months (5 quarters) of pause. The DoI would have gone longer if they could as they still feel the National Environmental Policy Act requires further environmental review, but mineral-rich states are growing restless.
The Petroleum Association of Wyoming sent a letter of protest to the BLM arguing that the reduction in leases available was too severe. Conservation groups from 8 states responded by submitting their own letters of protest. It would seem as if nobody is pleased. The BLM is offering a total of 129 parcels with 321 deferred, and 27 outright deleted. Pete Obermueller complained about the locations of the leases arguing that they are in some of the most remote and difficult places to reach. The 50% hike in royalty rates also contributes to the unattractiveness of the leases, at least from the perspective of the industry.
Oil and gas-related spills increased by 5% in 2021 according to the Center for Western Priorities. Of the nearly 40,000 barrels of oil, mud, and produced water, 50% came from the two top producing counties of Converse and Campbell. “It’s just the nature of it, you know, where there’s increased activity, you’re gonna see an increased chance of something going wrong,” Ryan McConnaughey, vice president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said. The top 5 offenders were EOG, Devon, Crowheart Energy, Chesapeake, and Merit Energy.
Operators With Most Permits in WY
Top Producers Oil
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Top Producers Gas
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Wyoming Oil Production
Wyoming Gas Production
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