Energy is news

Jun 19, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

And Wyoming always will be part of the crucial equation

Wyoming's energy industry is big news.

We've filled an 80-page newspaper with it in our 58th annual Ranger Mining and Energy Edition, but a day doesn't pass without a significant news story locally, statewide, nationally or globally about the search for energy, the generation of energy, the economics of energy, the scientific challenges of energy production.

And Wyoming is central to it all.

Today's 58th annual Ranger Mining and Energy Edition reflects, as always, the tides of Wyoming energy. Coal struggles to adjust to tougher economic conditions and new, less favorable sentiment in the federal government.

Uranium, forever "about to rebound" after languishing for 30 years, actually has new mines in Wyoming again, with more on the way. We've written about them inside today's edition, and they will be of intense interest in the year ahead.

Trona has attracted the attention of Congress, which might vote this year on a bill to reduce the royalty on domestic soda ash to increase global competitiveness. And when that happens, it will be Wyoming that is doing the competing.

Bentonite production is stable and productive, with Wyoming's plentiful supplies filling the requirements of everything from drilling rigs to litter boxes. However it's needed, Wyoming is here to supply it.

Oil and natural gas production endures fits of delay and uncertainty even as it provides tax revenues at levels most other states long for. Oil production posted gains compared to last year as the United States embraced drilling at a pace not seen since the 1970s.

Natural gas, which sparked the state's remarkable revenue boom in the first decade of the 2000s, slumped a bit since then but now is said to be ready to gain again -- depending on the expert giving the opinion.

The talk this year was about a state revenue crunch, but it's all a matter of scale. Wyoming is wealthy. Minerals and energy production have made it so.

Hundreds of companies. Tens of thousands of workers. Hundreds of millions of tons, barrels and MCFs trucked, railed and piped from our state in every direction -- with a lot of it used within our borders as well. In America, our state is the indispensable piece of an imperative national priority.

The history of our Mining and Energy Edition dovetails that of the industry itself. We've produced bigger editions than today's 80-pager (same size as last year's), just as Wyoming's rigs, mines and mills have had bigger production years than this one. But there's one thing that 58 years of producing this industry profile have shown us that the mine manager who just transferred in, or the shovel operator who just hired on might not be able to see with the same clarity, or at least not from the same vantage point.

It is this: Wyoming's energy industry endures.

This is the long haul. Economic wobbles, technological challenges, regulatory hurdles and courtroom battles will come and go, each with its temporary obstacle and its temporary solutions. Our big edition's page count and advertising inches will reflect it.

At the core, however, is the reality of human need for energy and the ceaseless search to satisfy it. That is an equation that is likely to be unchanged by time, and an equation that always will include Wyoming.

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