The coalbed methane development in the Powder River Basin is currently one of the most active in
the U.S., with more than 2,400 producing wells. These wells collectively produced 58.1 billion
cubic feet of gas in 1999. There are also 1,300 shut-in wells capable of producing once they are
connected to a pipeline. The average water production per well is approximately 12 gpm, which
equates to approximately 40 mgd currently being discharged to the surface. Over 7,200 additional
wells have been permitted in the last year, with BLM projecting that a total of 35,000 to 70,000
cbm wells may ultimately be completed.
The purpose of the proposed project is to generate an interactive database that will provide
information on the surficial and subsurface geology, groundwater hydrology, and surface and
subsurface water quality of part of the Powder River Basin. In addition, the project will include
available information on water well completion reports. As the emphasis will be on the coalbed
methane producing formations and beds in the area, links to information on coalbed methane
production and produced water will also be available. This will be accomplished through
cooperative efforts among the Wyoming Geological Survey, Water Resources Data System, United
States Geological Survey Water Resources Division, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Oil
and Gas Conservation Commission, Wyoming Water Development Commission, Wyoming
Department of Environmental Quality, and the Wyoming State Engineer's Office.
The project is proposed to be completed by October 2002, with subsequent appropriation requests
for the other basins in the State.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The Commission recommends that the project be incorporated into the Rehabilitation Program at
Level I with an appropriation of $400,000.