Energy Resources Program
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2012–1113
The purpose of this report is to summarize geology, coal resources, and coal reserves in the Montana Powder River Basin assessment area in southeastern Montana. This report represents the fourth assessment area within the Powder River Basin to be evaluated in the continuing USGS. See Press Release for listing of all related publications.
Press Release & Related Publications
The Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana contains about 162 billion short tons (BST) of recoverable coal from a total of 1.07 trillion short tons of in-place resources according to a new USGS assessment. This assessment also estimates that 25 BST of those resources are currently economical.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2012–1024–BThis report presents ten storage assessment units (SAUs) within the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2012–1151
The Organic Petrology Laboratory (OPL) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center in Reston, Virginia, contains several thousand processed coal sample materials that were loosely organized in laboratory drawers for the past several decades.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Outside Publication: Science of The Total EnvironmentGround-based surveys of three coal fires and airborne surveys of two of the fires were conducted near Sheridan, Wyoming. The fires occur in natural outcrops and in abandoned mines, all containing Paleocene-age subbituminous coals.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Outside Publication: International Journal of Coal GeologyThis study demonstrates the ability to estimate CO2 and CH4emissions for the Welch Ranch coal fire, Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USA, using two independent methods: heat flux calculated from aerial thermal infrared imaging and direct, ground-based measurements. Both approaches offer the potential for conducting inventories of coal fires to assess their gas emissions and to evaluate and prioritize fires for mitigation.
Monday, September 19, 2011
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2011–1134The total original coal resource in the Southwestern Powder River Basin assessment area for 23 coal beds, with no restrictions applied was calculated to be 369 billion short tons. Available coal resources, which are part of the original resource that is accessible for potential mine development after subtracting all restrictions, are about 341 billion short tons (92.4 percent of the total original resource). Approximately 61 percent are at depths between 1,000 and 2,000 ft, with a modeled price of about $30 per short ton.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Outside Publication: Environmental Geosciences
Coalbed methane (CBM) is a source of natural gas that is recovered by dewatering coal beds and collecting volatile compounds, such as methane, that are desorbed from the coal. One method to beneficially use water produced from coalbed methane (CBM) extraction is subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) of croplands. This article reports on initial results from tracking water and solutes from the injected CBM-produced waters at an SDI system in Johnson County, Wyoming.
Friday, August 26, 2011
USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2011–1148A review of publicly available coal quality data during the coal resource assessment of the southwestern part of the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, revealed significant problems and limitations with those data. The review processes demonstrated why it is always preferable to research and evaluate the circumstances regarding the sampling and analytical methodology from the original data sources when evaluating coal quality information, particularly if only limited data are available.
The Powder River Basin is a geologic region that straddles southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming and is known for its coal and coalbed methane deposits. This web site provides access to the diverse Energy Resources Program research activities and products within the Powder River Basin Region.
Select the colored assessment areas on the map below to view corresponding USGS Powder River Basin coal assessment publications:
The USGS has completed several assessments of the Powder River Basin. This information is summarized on the Oil and Gas Assessment Powder River Basin page.
In 2009, the USGS completed the first digital National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA) of in-place coal resources. The current generation of U.S. coal assessments will not only be a refinement of the coal resources, but also the systematic determination of the regional coal reserve base in all the major coal provinces in the U.S. The reserve base provides not only estimates of coal resources that are... [+]
currently economic (reserves), but what may become economic with current technologies (recoverable resources), which is important from a national energy security and policy standpoint. The first U.S. coal basin to be evaluated in this new assessment phase is the Powder River Basin, WY (PRB). The PRB is the single most important coal basin in the U.S. production-wise, supplying over 42 percent of the total coal produced in the U.S. in 2012.
The National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA) project was a multi-year effort by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Program to identify, characterize, and assess the coal resources that will supply a major part of the Nation’s energy needs during the next few decades. NCRA data and publications are available on the NCRA Powder River Basin page.
There are coalbed methane assessments for the Powder River Basin currently available.
Geothermal study sites and calculated potential has been compiled and is available for the entire western United States on the geothermal studies page.
Vitrinite reflectance variations in Paleocene-Eocene coals of the Powder River, Williston, Hanna, Bighorn, and Bull Mountain basins, U.S.A. [extended abstract]:
Abstract [.pdf] [5.91 MB] l Associated Data [.xlsx] [1.65 MB]
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Powder River Basin Coal
USGS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Pertaining to "Coal"
Energy Resources Program - Colorado Plateau
U.S. Bureau of Land Management - Powder River Basin Coal
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, June 03, 2015