Wyoming digest

Dec 9, 2013 The Associated Press

Fire burns for hours at refinery

SINCLAIR -- A fire burned for more than six hours at the Sinclair Oil refinery in south-central Wyoming.

Officials with Salt Lake City-based Sinclair say nobody was hurt. The fire started around 3:30 a.m. Friday in the plant's alkylation unit. The refinery's fire department extinguished the flames around 10 a.m.

The company said in a release it had notified Wyoming workplace safety regulators and begun an investigation. The refinery continued to operate at normal rates. In 2012, three fires injured seven workers at the refinery in the town of Sinclair.

In October, the Wyoming state workplace safety office announced more than $700,000 in fines against Sinclair for 22 alleged workplace safety violations. Problems that led to the fines included a toxic gas release that sickened 22 workers in May.

Internet scam leads to warning

ROCK SPRINGS -- The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office says consumers should be particularly vigilant to avoid scams during the holiday shopping season.

Sheriff Rich Haskell and the sheriff's office have issued an online scam advisory aimed at helping people avoid being targeted by criminals on the Internet.

The advisory urges people to be as cautious of business transactions they learn about on social media networks as they would be of suspicious emails or websites.

The advisory also warns people about not falling victim to fake charities, email banking scams or phony gift card solicitations that request information about credit cards or personal financial records.

Uranium mine ships first yellowcake

A new uranium mine north of Rawlins has shipped its first batch of yellowcake.

Yellowcake is a precursor form of the enriched uranium that fuels nuclear power plants. Ur-Energy's Lost Creek facility shipped 35,000 pounds of yellowcake to a plant in Illinois this week.

Ur-Energy expects to begin shipping two to four truckloads a month soon. Each truckload weighs 35,000 pounds.

Between one-third and one-half of the production at Lost Creek will be sold through long-term deals. Long-term contracts for yellowcake are averaging $50 per pound.

The in-situ mine produces uranium by dissolving uranium-bearing deposits underground. Water carrying dissolved uranium is then pumped to the surface and processed into yellowcake.

The mine began drying recovered uranium in October.

U.S. rig count up; Wyo. unchanged

HOUSTON --Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 this week to 1,775.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,397 rigs were exploring for oil and 375 for gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,800 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained eight rigs, Oklahoma rose by five, California gained two and Alaska, Utah and West Virginia each increased by one.

Louisiana and Pennsylvania each dropped two rigs, while Colorado and North Dakota lost one each. Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Wyoming remained unchanged.

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