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Jul 27, 2012 - The Associated Press

Books opened on shale play

CHEYENNE -- Petroleum companies and investors are about to get a better idea who has struck black gold and who might be in the red as a result of drilling into the Niobrara Shale beneath eastern Wyoming.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is preparing to open up a vast amount of up-to-now confidential information on more than 900 recently drilled oil and gas wells.

The commission regulates oil and gas drilling in Wyoming and plans to lift "confidential" status for the wells on Wednesday. Newly available information will include production rates for hundreds of recently drilled Niobrara Shale oil wells.

The Niobrara Shale has seen intense activity over the past couple years. Relatively few oil wells drilled into the formation in Wyoming are known to be highly productive.

Patrol cracks down on drunk riders

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Highway Patrol is launching an effort to crack down on impaired motorcycle drivers.

Wyoming usually sees an increase in motorcycle use during this time of year. As the number of motorcycles increases on highways, so does the number of reported motorcycle crashes.

In 2011, out of the 308 reported motorcycle crashes in Wyoming, 24 of those crashes involved impaired motorcycle drivers. So far this year, Wyoming law enforcement officers have investigated six motorcycle fatality crashes. Two of those involved alcohol.

The Patrol says extra troopers will be assigned to northeast Wyoming during the 72nd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which begins Aug. 6 in South Dakota.

UW professor drops Senate bid

CHEYENNE -- A University of Wyoming history professor is dropping his bid to run as an independent for U.S. Senate.

Phil Roberts says there is no room in this year's Senate race for him because in order to be successful he would need support from a number of Republicans. But as his petition drive to gather signatures progressed, it became clear that most of his support was coming from Democrats and independents.

Roberts says it's clear that he would hand certain victory to incumbent Republican John Barrasso by going through with the bid.

Roberts was a Democratic candidate for governor in 1998 and lost the primary to John Vinich, who then lost the general election Republican Gov. Jim Geringer.

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