Data, Stats, News & Info

Powder River Basin
Data, History, and Current State

This guide provides information about the Powder River Basin, oil and gas data, history, top operators, and other facts.

Overview

Powder River Basin Oil and Gas

The Powder River Basin (PRB) is a geologic structural basin in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming, known for its significant deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The Powder River Basin -- Supplying 43% of U.S. coal production

The Powder River Basin is a prolific source of hydrocarbons, playing a key role in Wyoming’s position as a leading producer of domestic oil and natural gas. However, the basin is also a significant contributor to coal production.

What is the Powder River Basin?

The Powder River Basin covers approximately 43,000 square miles, covering parts of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. Major counties within the basin include Campbell, Converse, Johnson, and Sheridan in Wyoming, and Powder River and Rosebud in Montana.

The Powder River itself is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, originating in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. The river flows northward into Montana and is approximately 375 miles long. The river and its basin have given their name to the Powder River Basin.

Horizontal Rig Count

The Powder River Basin: History, Data and Facts

Oil production in the Powder River Basin began in the early 20th century, but had its peak later on.

When and how did it start?

Oil production in the Powder River Basin has a long history, with the first oil well drilled in 1889 north of the Salt Creek Oil Field, which remains Wyoming’s most productive oilfield (Source: Census.gov).

Significant development began in the mid-20th century, with a resurgence in recent years due to advances in drilling technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The basin’s oil production peaked in the 1980s, declined, and then saw a renaissance in the late 2000s and 2010s due to unconventional drilling techniques.

Oil production over the last 10 years

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d]

Top counties [August 2013 - August 2023]

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d] of the Top Counties
# County State Horizontal Well Count - August 2023 Daily Production (Bo/d) - August 2023
1 Converse Wyoming 1,285 108,555
2 Campbell (WY) Wyoming 900 57,738
3 Johnson (WY) Wyoming 79 2,266
4 Niobrara Wyoming 29 464
5 Crook (WY) Wyoming 4 268
6 Natrona Wyoming 30 83
7 Weston Wyoming 7 73
8 Sheridan (WY) Wyoming 10 0

Top 15 oil operators [August 2013 - August 2023] - wells by current operator

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d] of the Top 15 operators
# Operator State Daily Production (Bo/d) - August 2023
1 Anschutz Exploration Wyoming 37,646
2 EOG Wyoming 29,628
3 Continental Resources Wyoming 20,746
4 Occidental Wyoming 19,876
5 Devon Energy Wyoming 19,833
6 Ballard Petroleum Wyoming 7,777
7 Rockies Resources Wyoming 7,374
8 Impact Exploration & Production Wyoming 6,677
9 Peak Wyoming 3,659
10 Vermilion Energy Wyoming 3,571
11 WRC Energy Wyoming 3,488
12 OneRock Energy Holdings Wyoming 3,057
13 Deutsche Rohstoff Wyoming 2,456
14 Navigation Wyoming 1,064
15 Titan Exploration Wyoming 479

Looking for the latest Powder River Basin oil & gas data?

We provide the most accurate, timely, and complete upstream data, driven by Novi’s industry-leading data science expertise.

The Powder River Basin Gas Production

When and how did it start?

Natural gas production in the Powder River Basin has also been significant, especially from coalbed methane (CBM) sources. The development of technologies to extract methane gas trapped within coal seams revolutionized the basin’s gas production in the late 1990s and 2000s, making Wyoming one of the top CBM-producing states.

By 2009, the Powder River Basin reached its peak natural gas production at over 584 billion cubic feet per year, thanks largely to CBM (Source: U.S. Census Bureau). However, similar to oil, the production trends have fluctuated over the years, with new technologies and economic factors influencing the output.

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d]

Top counties [August 2013 - August 2023]

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d] of the Top Couties
# County State Horizontal Well Count - August 2023 Daily Production (Mcf/d) - August 2023
1 Campbell (WY) Wyoming 900 297,651
2 Converse Wyoming 1,285 267,982
3 Johnson (WY) Wyoming 79 4,682
4 Natrona Wyoming 30 2,164
5 Niobrara Wyoming 29 861
6 Crook (WY) Wyoming 4 312
7 Weston Wyoming 7 36
8 Sheridan (WY) Wyoming 10 0

Top 15 natural gas operators [August 2013 - August 2023] - wells by current operator

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d] of the Top 15 Operators
# Operator State Daily Production (Mcf/d) - August 2023
1 EOG Wyoming 225,917
2 Continental Resources Wyoming 86,318
3 Anschutz Exploration Wyoming 80,786
4 Occidental Wyoming 48,921
5 Devon Energy Wyoming 35,388
6 Ballard Petroleum Wyoming 15,704
7 Peak Wyoming 14,219
8 WRC Energy Wyoming 12,973
9 Impact Exploration & Production Wyoming 11,806
10 Rockies Resources Wyoming 9,954
11 OneRock Energy Holdings Wyoming 9,004
12 Vermilion Energy Wyoming 8,837
13 Navigation Wyoming 3,910
14 Aethon Energy Wyoming 2,088
15 Titan Exploration Wyoming 1,793

Natural resources in the Powder River Basin

The Powder River Basin is rich in oil, natural gas and coal, but also hosts deposits of aggregate, bentonite, limestone, gypsum, and uranium.

The Powder River Basin formations

The Powder River Basin is home to several major geological formations, each with its own unique characteristics and significance. Here are some of the notable formations found in the Powder River Basin.

Major formations:

Teckla Formation

This formation is a fine to medium-grained sandstone with interbedded shales. It was deposited in a deltaic to shallow marine environment.

Teapot Formation

The Teapot Formation consists of interbedded sandstones, shales, and coal beds. It was deposited in a coastal plain to shallow marine setting.

Parkman Sandstone

The Parkman Sandstone is a fine to medium-grained sandstone with interbedded shales. It was deposited in a deltaic to shallow marine environment.

Sussex Formation

This formation is characterized by fine to medium-grained, well-sorted sandstone deposited in a shallow marine environment

Shannon Sandstone

The Shannon Sandstone comprises fine to medium-grained sandstone with interbedded shales, indicative of a marine environment.

Niobrara Formation

The Niobrara Formation is composed of chalky shales, marls, and limestones deposited in a marine environment.

Turner/Frontier Formation

The Turner Sandstone, part of the Frontier Formation, is a fine to medium-grained sandstone with interbedded shales, deposited in fluvial to shallow marine environments.

Mowry Shale

The Mowry Shale is a siliceous shale with interbedded siltstone and minor sandstone layers, deposited in a marine environment.

Muddy Formation

The Muddy Formation consists of sandstone and shale deposited in fluvial to deltaic environments.

Dakota Formation

The Dakota Formation is composed of sandstone, siltstone, and shale, representing fluvial to shallow marine depositional environments.

Novi Labs Blog

Check our Latest Powder River News and Updates

Take the guesswork out of your energy investment decisions

Looking for comprehensive, in-depth oil and gas data?

We can walk through your requirements, answer questions, and review ways Novi Labs can help your organization.

Meet Novi Labs' knowledgeable experts.

Invite to Speak

Our team of experts is passionate about sharing valuable insights on US energy. Please provide us some information about your event, and we will get back to you as soon as we can

Date
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.