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Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $60.42 Brent (ICE) $66.87

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.77, Wyoming Pool $2.62, Opal $2.62

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 929, Wyoming 24

Quote of the week 

“I’m hopeful that we are looking at a trend: that the market is stabilizing in the state of Wyoming.” -- Jason Crowder, Office of State Lands and Investments, on dramatic increase in leasing for oil and gas in 2017.

An 800 percent jump 

Wyoming oil and gas closed out 2017 with an impressive record on leasing activities. Between the federal and state lease auctions this year, Wyoming's revenue from leasing skyrocketed by 800 percent. 

2017: the new normal 

After a few years of uncertainty, the fossil fuel economies that Wyoming depends on had a stabilizing year. 

Coal stopped bleeding, oil and gas jobs improved and the rigs returned. 

There are still long term concerns for coal given declining demand and overcapacity in the Powder River Basin. The oil and gas sector face the more familiar, but no less uncertain volatility of crude and persistently cheap gas. 

Regs taken down this year 

The Clean Power Plan, the coal moratorium and the methane rule are out. Here's a round up of the first year of the Trump presidency and a few of the ways the administration addressed federal regulations that they argue burden industry.  

Walk back on fracking

Slipping in one more decision on Obama-era regulations for the year, the Interior Department rescinded its fracking rules. 

Though the rules were never in effect, the decision heartened industry groups and frustrated environmentalists. 

Wyoming has had state standards on fracking since 2010. 

Breeding the bird that threatens industry 

In a push to reduce regulations that burden energy development, sage grouse management in Wyoming may change soon. Captive breeding has been a point of contention in recent months as the debate over the grouse heated up.

Wyoming has given the green light to the practice, on a limited basis. And a Casper oilman and a farmer are gearing up to run the state's first sage grouse farming experiment.

Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner

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