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Last week in numbers
Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $61.61, Brent (ICE) $64.86
Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.55, Wyoming Pool $2.3, Opal $2.32
Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 975, Wyoming 30
Quote of the Week
“Dear god. Tell me that’s a coal-fired power plant.”
-- Don Walford, owner of T-Rex Oil, on using carbon dioxide emissions from Dave Johnston to stimulate the oil fields
Podcast week -- Saving Dave Johnston
The Energy Journal podcast is back, this time with a trip to Glenrock where the small-time mayor has high hopes to keep a coal fired plant burning.
Coal-fired power faces a host of problems and carbon dioxide has been one of them. The mayor of Glenrock, looking at the 2027 retirement date of the local job driver Dave Johnston, argues that a private venture could save the plant.
Tax overhaul boost for coal companies
Arch Coal and Cloud Peak reported earnings this week, both with a boon from the tax overhaul.
Arch expects coal production in the Powder River Basin to remain stable. Cloud Peak sees a dip in demand for its lower heat coal from Cordero Rojo.
Perhaps the most pressing stories this week came from Cheyenne, where Wyoming's lawmakers finished up the first week of the budget session.
A host of energy measures are thrown in this year, with staples like a bid to increase the wind tax mingling amongst others ideas like cutting taxes for oil and gas.
Rep. Chuck Gray proposed setting aside $250k to hire private lawyers to sue Washington State over coal. The bill failed at introduction by a single vote.
The Senate president is part of a push to cut oil and gas severance taxes on the third and fourth production year. He argues that production begins to fall in year three, so Wyoming will reap the taxes when production is strong but provide an incentive for companies to drill in Wyoming.
Others doubt that a severance tax cut will have a net benefit in Wyoming.
A small mining bill that would have allowed mining before regulator approval also failed. We reported on that bill during the interim when it was contested by a diverse group.
Andrew Graham from Wyofile reported on a bill proposed to protect industrial infrastructure that others call a block on free speech and protest, ala the Standing Rock Sioux fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
One more down
A power plant that burns Wyoming coal reached its official shut down date. This news broke last year, one of the early retirements that some say are one of the biggest risks to coal going forward.
The Two Elk developer facing fraud charges was permitted a seventh sentencing delay. New date is April 18.
Feds have proposed a revision to the controversial methane rule from the Bureau of Land Management that critiques say guts the rule of its most valuable provisions. Politicos, who've fought to get rid of the rule since Congress convened last January, celebrated.