Haul trucks transport coal at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle mining complex in the Powder River Basin in 2012. The company's shipments from the Powder River Basin were cut by 22 percent in the first quarter because of flooding.

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Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $62.86, Brent (ICE) $71.59

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.59, Wyoming Pool $1.93, Opal $1.95

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S 990, Wyoming 32

 Quote of the week

"I hope, if not me, they find somebody else. But there are not too many people left. There are people that are like ‘Write me a check and we’ll take over,’ but real mining companies? You’re not going to find Arch or Peabody coming (out there).” 

-- Tom Clarke, would-be buyer of the Kemmerer coal mine in Wyoming, who disputed claims that the sale fell through because of inadequate bonding by Clarke

Wyoming leads on fed land drilling

BLM celebrated record revenue from oil and gas in a press release last week, stoking frustration from environmental groups who've been critical of the Trump administration's energy priority on public land.  

The BLM reported record production, revenue and one of the smallest surface footprints in decades. Two-thirds of new drilling occurred in two states: New Mexico and Wyoming. 

Cloud Peak reprieve, again 

Wyoming's Cloud Peak Energy will get another week's reprieve on unpaid debt payments. Expectations of a pending bankruptcy remain as the company has admitted the need to restructure its unmanageable debt. 

Cloud Peak is the third-largest coal producer in Wyoming. It faces a local tax deadline May 10. 

Q1 flooding drove down coal shipments 

Peabody Energy reported a 22 percent drop in coal shipments due to Midwest flooding in the first quarter. 

The company is holding on to its guidance for production for the year, despite being slightly behind in the first quarter and expectations of a similar Q2. 

Kemmerer in limbo

The deal's death was disclosed in a meeting regarding the objection by creditors to Clarke closing the Kemmerer deal before replacing bonding.

Clarke later disputed the claims made by those present at the meeting that he had failed to secure bonding. He has secured bonding, he said. The lenders simply wouldn't take the deal.

Railroads downgraded due to coal

Moody's downgraded North American railroads from positive to stable, on the expectation of declining coal shipments.  

BLM seeks nominations

A citizens group in Wyoming meant to bridge the gap between the public and the Bureau of Land Management is still struggling to find members after years of delay and a temporary suspension from the Trump administration.

The federal agency in Wyoming put out a call Tuesday for nominations to the BLM’s Resource Advisor Council.

The goal of these citizens groups is to connect local voices with the federal agents who carry out federal land policy in the state, from mining issues to energy projects.

“By including diverse membership from across the state, we further our goal of ensuring we receive a wide variety of public perspectives to guide our work,” said BLM Wyoming State Director Mary Jo Rugwell.

Resource Advisory Councils were suspended in 2017 under then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, part of a broad revisionist approach to councils and advisory groups to the Interior.

A question posed to BLM Wyoming as to whether the Zinke review led to changes for the Wyoming group, was punted to Washington and not returned by press time.

Carbon County Commissioner John Espy said the Wyoming group hadn’t met since before the suspension. He said ideally a group like this can be a useful tool in providing the federal agencies with a local perspective, but with the years-long delay any work they do may be starting from scratch.

Wyoming BLM has seven vacancies on the council in three separate categories that are roughly industry, environmental and local government or academic.

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Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner


Energy Reporter

Heather Richards writes about energy and the environment. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, she moved to Wyoming in 2015 to cover natural resources and government in Buffalo. Heather joined the Star Tribune later that year.

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