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President Donald Trump speaks Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, after a meeting with Congressional leaders on border security, as the government shutdown continues. He was joined by, from left, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Vice President Mike Pence, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of La. and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif.

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Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $47.96, Brent (ICE) $57.06

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.99, Wyoming Pool $3.72, Opal $3.79

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 1,075, Wyoming 33 (The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's Dec. 10 rig count from Drillinginfo was 42.)

Quote of the Week

 “We’ve relied on (fossil fueled power plants) for the last 100 years to keep the lights on. I don’t think we really know what happens if we depend on other things to do that.”

Bryce Freeman, Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate, regarding the transition to new energy

Shutdown's overcast energy outlook 

The partial federal shutdown could have ripple effects across Wyoming's oil and gas industry, from compliance to drilling applications. The Bureau of Land Management is among the agencies lacking funding due to the shutdown, shuttering the agency that oversees Wyoming's oil and gas industry. 

Operators are already concerned about how the shutdown will impact their applications for permits to drill, but perhaps more so the day-to-day approval needed from the feds during drilling. 

Environmental groups and landowners are also concerned, reporting the on-and-off again access to online records, the uncertain impact of the shutdown on numerous public comment periods and the question of who is regulating industry while the BLM offices are closed.

Coal consumption to fall again

Last year may have been the lowest year in coal consumption since 1979, according to the EIA, which tracks coal shipments. 

The coal industry has been in decline for a decade, with consumption down by 44 percent compared to the last peak in 2007.

Oil sector's growth a boon for some counties

Taxable sales in Converse County -- the epicenter for oil and gas activity in recent years -- has shot up by 73 percent since last year

Oil and gas development is driving economic gains in the county, which reports that 90 percent of its government is funded just five months into the fiscal year. 

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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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