Welcome to the Star-Tribune’s Energy Journal, a play-by-play of the past week in Wyoming’s world of energy. I’m your energy and natural resources reporter, Camille Erickson. Sign up for the newsletter at trib.com/energyjournal
Last week in numbers
Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $58.13, Brent (ICE) $64.40
Friday natural gas: Henry Hub $2.59, Wyoming Pool $2.22, Opal $2.23
Baker Hughes rig count: U.S 886, Wyoming 36
Quote of the week
“If this (attack on Saudi Arabia) is the only thing that ever happens ... there will be some ringing of hands, and it will pass. But if this is just the tip of the iceberg, all bets are off. If there is another drone strike in a week or two – that will really rattle crude markets."
— Chuck Mason, University of Wyoming economics professor studying petroleum and natural gas
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- Coal company Contura Energy announced Wednesday it had reached a tentative deal with out-of-state coal supplier FM Coal to transfer ownership of two idling Wyoming coal mines, the latest development in a bankruptcy case involving Blackjewel.
- A day later, Star-Tribune obtained a letter and term sheet from Aspen Coal and Energy LLC outlining another proposal to purchase the two PRB mines. Campbell County miners continue to await word on a final sale.
- Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon contacted the Mexican government about possibly using the country’s ports to export the state’s coal to markets overseas, Nick Reynolds reports.
- The Energy Information Administration tempered forecasts for Western coal production as demand for the mineral declines nationwide and market uncertainty persists.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will fuel its entire operations on wind power from the Horse Butte Wind Farm in Idaho.
OIL & GAS
- About half of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure was crippled after drone attacks hit a processing plant and oil field on Sept. 14. The attack removed roughly 5.7 million barrels of oil a day from the market. Crude prices soared.
- The third quarter Bureau of Land Management fetched $8.3 million, after selling 175 parcels of land encompassing over 264,000 Wyoming acres.
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office found federal agencies are cleaning up abandoned wells operators leave behind. The Bureau of Land Management should consider increasing bond amounts, the report concluded.
- A research firm predicts the U.S. shale boom will likely peak in 2030 at 14.5 million barrels of oil a day and then loose steam (via Houston Chronicle).
- Royal Dutch Shell PLC joined the Solar Energy Industries Association's board of directors. Are oil executives pivoting to renewables? (via E&E).
A geospatial analysis unveiled Thursday by the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, found 1.3 million acres of active leases on Wyoming land sold for $2 or less an acre, often in noncompetitive sales. The parcels often overlap with critical sage grouse habitat and migration corridors.