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Energy Journal: A mountain of cleanup liabilities, a layoff scare and some more oil volatility
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Energy Journal: A mountain of cleanup liabilities, a layoff scare and some more oil volatility

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Commercial Development

A warehouse is shown under construction in February in an industrial area off Salt Creek Highway in Casper. 

Welcome to the Star-Tribune’s Energy Journal, a play-by-play of the past week in Wyoming’s wild world of energy. I’m your energy and natural resources reporter, Camille Erickson. Sign up for the newsletter here.

COAL

OIL & GAS

  • The oil and gas giant Occidental Petroleum Corp. confirmed Thursday it will significantly reduce its workforce in an effort to cut costs in the wake of its acquisition of Anadarko, a merger that left the company with over $40 billion of debt last summer. Occidental is a leading oil producer in the Permian Basin, but also has operations in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. The company did not specify if Wyoming employees would be affected by the layoffs.
  • About three dozen Wyoming landowners filed a lawsuit in federal court against one of the largest oil companies operating in the region late last year. The Laramie County residents own mineral rights and have accused the international firm of suppressing competition in oil and gas activity by hoarding thousands of unused drilling permits.
  • What the U.S.-led strike against a leading Iranian military leader could mean for Wyoming oil here. And a comprehensive look at what the ongoing conflict in the region could mean for oil by S&P Global here.

WIND & SOLAR

  • Carbon County Commissioners rejected the conditional use permit applications for the Lucky Star and Two Rivers wind farms (via Rawlins Times).

WILDLIFE

  • At the tail end of his first year in office, Gov. Mark Gordon released a draft executive order to bolster migration corridor protections. The draft, published on Dec. 23, attempted to thread the needle between the need to preserve precious wildlife and the need to support Wyoming’s lucrative energy sector. Since its release, the draft has been lauded by several stakeholders as a winning example of effective, science-based wildlife management policy. Still, others fear it could add one more set of hurdles for energy developers to leap through. 

Don’t miss the most memorable stories in energy of 2019 here.

Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $59.56, Brent (ICE) $65.37

Friday natural gas:

  • Henry Hub $2.01, Wyoming Pool $2.61, Opal $2.61

Baker Hughes rig count:

  • U.S 781 (-15), Wyoming 24 (-1)

Quote of the week

“Western coal-producing states face a looming dilemma, and the costs could be huge. Today’s coal industry is undercapitalized and at great financial risk from declining coal demand, and it is dangerously undiversified. But coal companies are responsible for cleanup of over 230 square miles of Western land and counting."

— Bob LeResche, board member of Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Welcome to the Star-Tribune’s Energy Journal, a play-by-play of the past week in Wyoming’s wild world of energy. I’m your energy and natural resources reporter, Camille Erickson. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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