The persistent low price of natural gas continues to push coal-bed methane gas operators in the Powder River Basin to the brink of bankruptcy, leaving some 8,000 to 9,000 wells idle — many of them at risk of mechanical failure.
But both Ciris and the microbial stimulation proposal has faced scrutiny from the Powder River Basin Resource Council, which advocates on behalf of many rural landowners in the region. Many of those landowners rely on the freshwater coal aquifer for domestic and stock water. They worry that various “nutrients” and chemicals used to stimulate the microbial process could degrade water quality and put human health at risk.
Before Ciris Energy Inc. successfully lobbied for a new law allowing for the microbial production of coal-bed methane gas in Wyoming, it got in trouble under the state’s existing rules. Ciris Energy Inc. allegedly injected chemicals into the Fort Union coal formation in the Powder River Basin without first obtaining a permit for the action, according to state records. Company representatives are scheduled to appear before the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission when it meets Tuesday in Casper.