Pinedale on the Web
|Low temperatures and frost warning, Monday, Sept. 1: Low temperatures tonight across the Upper Green River Basin are expected to range between 32 and 37 degrees. Typical colder spots such as Bondurant and Daniel could dip into the upper 20s. In addition some frost is expected which could harm sensitive outdoor plants. Residents are encouraged to bring sensitive plants inside or cover up sensitive vegetation such as gardens.|
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Pinedale Online is Pinedale, Wyoming on the web. We give our viewers, locals and out-of-area visitors, a "slice of life" snapshot window into our world view of what is happening in Pinedale. Visit us for current local news on what is happening, photos of local events, links to area businesses and services and more. We are long-time area residents and are happy to answer questions if you are planning a visit to our area.
|NEWS AND UPDATES (Click here for archived news stories)|| |
New charges filed in Pinedale serial assault cases (posted 8/28/14)
Public Hearing to address Instream Water Rights for Hoback and Greys watersheds Sept. 10 in Jackson (posted 8/27/14)
WyoLotto, the Wyoming Lottery, began selling tickets on Sunday, August 24th.
Wyomingites can now participate in the multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions, along with smaller dollar winning games, with the hopes of winning millions of dollars. WyoLotto reported they had $198,612 in lottery sales on first day, $1,000 in sales per minute on Monday.
Prizes under $600 can be claimed at any WyoLotto retailer. Prizes over $600 must be claimed at the Wyoming Lottery headquarters in Cheyenne.
Wyoming Lottery net revenues are distributed by the state to Wyoming’s cities, towns and counties and deposited into the state’s Permanent Land Fund’s Common School Account. Except for operating expenses and winner payouts, all of the money the Wyoming Lottery takes in goes back to the state of Wyoming.
The first drawing for Mega Million will be on Tuesday, August 26th with an estimated $15 million jackpot. Purchasers must be 18 years of age or older to buy a lottery ticket.
Lottery retailers receive 6% of their net sales for selling lottery tickets, redeeming lottery prizes, and other activities required by the Wyoming Lottery Corporation. Lottery retailers get an additional 1% for all tickets validated on the lottery terminal and within their establishment.
The Wyoming Lottery was created when House Bill 77 was passed in Wyoming’s 2013 legislative session. The Lottery operates as a private business and does not employ state employees or use state tax money. The Wyoming Lottery Corporation consists of a nine-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor. Operations are managed by a board-appointed CEO and a support staff.
New regulations for upland game bird hunters (posted 8/25/14)
Boaters reminded of Aquatic Invasive Species requirements (posted 8/25/14)
Washington State University
In a first-ever study, researchers at Washington State University are examining whether grizzly bears make and use tools. And while it’s too soon to reach a broad scientific conclusion, at least one female bear is demonstrating that, yes, she definitely can.
Information gleaned from the study can be used to help wildlife managers better solve grizzly-related challenges and problems, according to researchers, and also assist zookeepers in keeping captive bears mentally and physically stimulated.
The study, being conducted at WSU’s Bear Research Education and Conservation Center, is documenting eight grizzlies faced with the challenge of getting their claws into a dangling food snack that’s too high to reach. No training is involved. The researchers are chronicling innate learning behavior.
"While it’s generally accepted that grizzly bears are intelligent creatures, until now no scientific research had been conducted on their problem-solving skills," said WSU veterinary biologist Lynne Nelson, who is overseeing the study.
In WSU’s controlled setting, eight brown bears—three males and five females—are being tested separately and are at various phases of the experiment, said Nelson. To date, a 9-year-old grizzly named Kio has sailed through each phase, essentially nailing the hypothesis that the species is capable of tool use.
Here’s how the study works: Inside the grizzly bears’ play area, a donut is hung on a string from a wire, too high for the animals to reach. First, each bear is tested to see if it will stand on a sawed-off tree stump to reach up and get the donut down. Once this is mastered, researchers move the stump away from the hanging donut and place it on its side.
Here’s where things get challenging. The bear must move the stump until it is positioned underneath the donut and then flip the stump over into a makeshift footstool.
All of which Kio mastered early on: "She manipulates an inanimate object in several steps to help her achieve a goal, which in this case is to obtain food," said Nelson. "This fits the definition of tool use."
The other grizzlies are in the process of figuring out the feat, she explained, which confirms what the center’s scientists have long suspected about the keen brain power of bears. Frequently, Nelson and her colleagues witness grizzlies doing remarkable things, including using a single claw in a key-like manner to try to open locks.
Why should humans scientifically assess tool use among America’s greatest predators?
"If grizzly bears are capable of using tools to interact with their environment, that’s important for us to know because it provides a fuller picture of how they think," said WSU veterinary student Alex Waroff, who designed the study and who, with Nelson, tests the bears five mornings a week.
"By better understanding their cognitive abilities, we can help reduce encounters that can turn deadly for bears and humans alike," he said.
Such understanding also could shed light on whether the species is capable of manipulating its environment when faced with changes in the wild, such as shifts in habitat conditions or declining food sources, he explained.
As Nelson points out, most of the center’s grizzly bears were deemed "problem bears" in the wild and were brought to WSU as an alternative to being shot and killed.
"Grizzlies are smart foragers and they’ll work hard to get at food – which, as we’re seeing, can include some pretty sophisticated strategies," she said.
The glazed donuts, donated by a local grocery store, are used to entice the bears for the study and aren’t part of their normal diet, said Nelson.
"Yes, they like sweets – just like humans," she said. "But we’re careful to restrict their intake."
The study is expected to be completed this fall.
Click on this link for more on this story.
WY seeks to intervene in Wild Horse case (posted 8/16/14)
In joint news releases today (Thursday, August 14, 2014), Ultra Petroleum and Shell SWEPI announced a purchase exchange and sale agreement for Ultra to acquire 100% of Shell’s Pinedale oil and gas field properties. The sale includes an exchange where Shell will acquire 155,000 net acres of Ultra assets in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Pennsylvania and receive a cash payment of $925 million from Ultra. Ultra will take over operation of Shell’s Pinedale assets in Wyoming including associated gathering and processing contracts, subject to closing. See related news releases below for more details.
Ultra Petroleum Announces Pinedale Acquisition
Ultra Petroleum Corp media release
HOUSTON, August 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL) announced today that the company has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire all Pinedale field properties from SWEPI, LP, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, plc ("Shell") in exchange for a portion of Ultra's Marcellus Shale properties and cash consideration of $925.0 million. Ultra Petroleum expects to finance the acquisition through the issuance of new debt at the subsidiary and parent level. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter with an effective date of April 1, 2014.
About Ultra Petroleum
Ultra Petroleum Corp. is an independent energy company engaged in domestic natural gas and crude oil exploration, development and production. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trades under the ticker symbol "UPL". Additional information on the company is available at www.ultrapetroleum.com
Shell divests U.S. onshore gas assets in Pinedale and Haynesville, adds acreage in Marcellus and Utica
Shell media release, August 14, 2014
Royal Dutch Shell plc ("Shell") announces today two separate transactions whereby the company will exit its Pinedale and Haynesville onshore gas assets in exchange for approximately $2.1 billion of cash, plus additional acreage in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Pennsylvania.
In one agreement with Ultra Petroleum, Shell will acquire 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Pennsylvania and receive a cash payment of $0.925 billion from Ultra in exchange for 100 percent of Shell’s Pinedale asset in Wyoming, including associated gathering and processing contracts, subject to closing.
In a separate agreement with Vine Oil & Gas LP and its partner Blackstone, Shell has agreed to sell 100 percent of its Haynesville asset in Louisiana, including associated field facilities and infrastructure for $1.2 billion in cash, subject to closing.
"We continue to restructure and focus our North America shale oil and gas portfolio to deliver the most value in the longer term. With this announcement we are adding highly attractive exploration acreage, where we have impressive well results in the Utica, and divesting our more mature, Pinedale and Haynesville dry gas positions," said Marvin Odum, Shell’s Upstream Americas Director.
The Shell net production from Pinedale in the second quarter 2014 was 190 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) of dry gas (32 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (kboe/d)). During the first half of 2014, Ultra’s net production from the assets Shell is acquiring in Pennsylvania averaged 109 mmscf/d (19 kboe/d).
"We first entered the Pinedale Anticline in 2001, and I am proud of our operational excellence, community engagement, and leadership in responsible energy development over that time," said Odum.
Shell’s Pinedale asset (which includes 19,000 net acres of leasehold interest, 1,108 gross wells and associated facilities, and an average of 0.7 percent overriding royalty interest in 11,500 acres) will be exchanged for cash and Ultra’s 100 percent interest in the Marshlands area (63,000 net acres) as well as its entire interest (92,000 net acres) in the Tioga Area of Mutual Interest (AMI), an unincorporated joint venture with Shell. After completion of this transaction, Shell will have a 100 percent interest in the Tioga AMI. The agreement is effective 1 April 2014, and is expected to close this year.
Shell’s Haynesville asset includes 107,000 net acres in north Louisiana. The transaction includes 418 producing wells, 193 of them operated by Shell. As of 1 July 2014, the gross production from the Haynesville asset was approximately 700 mmscf/d of dry gas, with Shell’s net working interest share at approximately 250 mmscf/d (43 kboe/d). The agreement is effective 1 July 2014, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
"We very much appreciate the support we have had in north Louisiana, and we will continue to operate in the state, as we have for decades, through our downstream, retail, midstream, and New Orleans-based deep-water operations," said Odum.
North America: 832-337-2034
Shell US Media Relations: 713-241-4544
Shell reshuffles US shale assets in two major deals
Oil & Gas Journal, August 14, 2014
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has agreed to two separate transactions in which it will exit its Pinedale and Haynesville onshore gas assets in exchange for $2.1 billion in cash and acreage in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.
In one deal, Shell will sell its 107,000 net acres in the Haynesville of North Louisiana, along with associated field facilities and infrastructure, to Blackstone affiliates Blackstone Energy Partners and Vine Oil & Gas LP, Dallas, for $1.2 billion in cash.
Vine, formed by Blackstone earlier this year, is an exploration and production company targeting US shale and led by Eric Marsh, a former executive vice-president of Encana.
The transaction encompasses 418 producing wells, 193 of which are Shell-operated. Gross production from Shell’s assets, as of July 1, totaled 700 MMscfd of dry gas, with the company’s net working interest share totaling 250 MMscfd.
The agreement is effective July 1 and expected to close in the fourth quarter. Shell says it will continue to operate in Louisiana through its downstream, retail, midstream, and New Orleans-based deepwater operations.
In another deal, Shell will acquire 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica areas of Pennsylvania and receive a cash payment of $925 million from Ultra Petroleum Corp., Houston, in exchange for Shell’s 19,000 net acres of leasehold interest in Pinedale, Wyoming, including associated gathering and processing contracts. The Pinedale assets encompass 1,108 gross wells and associated facilities, and an average of 0.7% overriding royalty interest in 11,500 acres. Shell’s second-quarter net production from Pinedale totaled 190 MMscfd of dry gas. Ultra’s first-half net production from the Marcellus and Utica assets averaged 109 MMscfd.
Shell will receive 63,000 net acres in the Marshlands area as well as 92,000 net acres in the Tioga area of mutual interest (AMI), an unincorporated joint venture with Ultra, giving Shell 100% interest in Tioga AMI.
The agreement is effective Apr. 1 and expected to close this year.
Ultra says the deal with Shell will increase its net proved reserves by 1.8 tcfe and expand company-operated production to 82% from 62%.
Shell’s recent shale activity
Marin Odum, Shell Upstream Americas director, meanwhile explained the deals from his company’s perspective: "With this announcement we are adding highly attractive exploration acreage, where we have impressive well results in the Utica, and divesting our more mature, Pinedale and Haynesville dry gas positions."
Shell has recently been involved in a flurry of deal activity relating to its shale assets.
In June, company affiliate East Resources Inc. and an unnamed private company sold 48,000 net acres in the Marcellus and 27,000 net acres in the Utica to units of start-up American Energy Partners LP. The transactions totaled $1.75 billion.
Notably, East Resources was acquired in 2010 by Shell for $4.7 billion during Shell’s large-scale venture into US unconventional oil and gas.
In May, the company sold 100% working interest in 106,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford to Sanchez Energy for $639 million.
Two months earlier, Shell divested its acreage position in the Mississippi Lime in Kansas, its Utica position in Ohio, and a portion of its acreage in the Sandwash Niobrara basins in Colorado.