A fresh chapter has just been published in the saga of Western water issues. A study, funded by the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (MBOGC), a state agency, showed no negative impacts to crops and soils from water produced from coalbed-methane reservoirs. CBM production in the Powder River Basin can be accompanied by copious volumes of water, and lots of these shallow, low-volume gas wells have been drilled in the past decade. The study looked at the Tongue River drainage, which is home to some 3,000 CBM wells in northern Wyoming and southern Montana. Most produced water meets one of four fates: it ends up in storage ponds, is used for livestock and crops, is treated and then discharged, or is injected into the subsurface. Less than a quarter of produced CBM water flows untreated into tributaries of the Tongue River. It becomes part of the water used for irrigation along the drainage. The study found that CBM water had a benign effect on crops that were sampled and analyzed. The study assessed alfalfa, grass, barley, sugar beets and corn for feed quality, mineral and sodium content. Click here to link to the report on the MBOGC website. --by Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor Contact me at pwilliams@hartenergy.com