Encana reaches agreement to sell its DJ Basin assets (posted 10/8/15)
Natural gas and oil investments in Denver Julesburg (DJ) Basin in Colorado
Encana Corporation media release
CALGARY, AB --(Marketwired - October 08, 2015) - Encana Corporation (Encana) (TSX: ECA)(NYSE: ECA) announced today (Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015) that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., has reached an agreement to sell its Denver Julesburg (DJ) Basin assets in Colorado to a new entity 95 percent owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and 5 percent by The Broe Group. Total consideration to Encana under the transaction is approximately $900 million.
Encana will use the cash proceeds to further strengthen its balance sheet and create greater flexibility in this market environment. When combined with net proceeds from previously announced asset sales, cash proceeds from divestitures in 2015 will total approximately $2.7 billion. The company expects to have reduced its net debt in 2015 by approximately $3 billion by year-end.
"As we advance our strategy we continue to focus our portfolio and capital on our four most strategic assets, the Permian, Eagle Ford, Duvernay and Montney," said Doug Suttles, Encana President & CEO. "Our efforts to transform our portfolio, improve efficiency and grow margins are increasing returns and strengthening our balance sheet, positioning Encana for success throughout the commodity cycle. The new entity is acquiring a quality asset along with a highly talented team."
The transaction includes all of Encana's DJ Basin acreage comprising 51,000 net acres. During the first half of 2015, Encana's DJ Basin assets produced an average of 52 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas and 14,800 barrels per day of crude oil and natural gas liquids. Based on Encana's development plan at year-end 2014, estimated proved reserves were 96.8 million barrels of oil equivalent (over 40 percent natural gas).
The sale of Encana's DJ Basin assets is subject to satisfaction of normal closing conditions, regulatory approvals and post-closing and other adjustments. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015, with an effective date of April 1, 2015.
Click on this link for the full media release and investment cautionary statements.
Wyoming project will connect snowplows, trucks, fleet management centers (posted 10/7/15)
Wyoming Department of Transportation
WYDOT’s project under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program will connect snowplows, trucks, fleet management centers and roadside equipment to provide enhanced advisories to trucks and personal vehicles on the Interstate 80 corridor in Wyoming.
The pilot will develop applications that use vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity to support a flexible range of services from advisories, roadside alerts, parking notifications and dynamic travel guidance.
The goal is to improve the safety of the traveling public and reduce the incidents associated with adverse weather conditions frequently encountered on the corridor.
I-80, which reaches its highest elevation at 8,640 feet between Cheyenne and Laramie, is a major corridor for east-west freight movement in the northwest part of the country.
Through this pilot, WYDOT hopes to improve safety and freight mobility along the corridor through a reduction in the number of truck blowover incidents, secondary incidents, and road closures.
Since 2011, more than 200 blowovers were reported related to high wind events. On Jan. 5 of this year alone, there were 18 crashes attributed to the wind. From October 2007 to April 2012, there were 86 road closures along the Wyoming I-80 corridor, and the average duration for these closures was more than eight hours.
"We’ve made several process changes to WYDOT’s operations over the course of several years, such as closing roads to light, high profile vehicles during strong wind events and implementing variable speed limits to harmonize traffic flows. But it’s clear that the increased traffic on Interstate 80 will demand an even greater focus on safety, and we think the connected vehicle technologies will help us reach our goal of improving safety while increasing mobility," Vince Garcia, WYDOT’s GIS/ITS program manager said.
WYDOT will conduct the pilot in three phases as directed by the federal contract. In the first phase, which elaborates the deployment concepts, WYDOT will be supported by a multidisciplinary team including ICF International, University of Wyoming, National Center for Atmospheric Research, TriHydro, University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, and McFarland Management. Additional partners and stakeholders will be engaged in the development and deployment phases of the pilot.
The USDOT is providing about $730,000 for the first phase of the project, and the combined cost of all three phases is projected to be about $5.2 million.
The I-80 corridor in Wyoming is one of only three locations around the nation the USDOT selected to participate in the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
"We’re very excited to have this opportunity to explore using this innovative technology to improve safety and traffic flow on I-80 in Wyoming," WYDOT Director John Cox said. "Much of the freight moving from West Coast ports to the Midwest uses that highway, which can experience rapidly changing and extreme weather conditions. Anything we can do to help get road and traffic condition information to the drivers on the highway will improve safety for travelers in commercial and private vehicles."
WYDOT expects to work closely with federal partners to define the program requirements and deliver a scalable and replicable pilot that is a model for rural states to take advantage of vehicle and infrastructure connectivity.
For additional information regarding the pilot project in Wyoming, please contact Ali Ragan, WYDOT’s project manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four to join Wyoming Outdoor Hall Fame (posted 10/5/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is excited to announce the 2015 class of the Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include four individuals with varying backgrounds, but who all contributed significantly to Wyoming’s wildlife and outdoors. Dr. George Frison, Jerry Galles, Stephen Leek and Dr. Oliver Scott join past inductees, including Teddy Roosevelt, Curt Gowdy and Olaus and Mardy Murie.
The induction ceremony will take place in Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West on November 14. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation invite the public to come and celebrate this year’s class. Tickets and information are available here: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/halloffame
"So many people across the state care deeply about the outdoors and the wildlife, these resources are an essential part of the quality of life here. The Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame is a means to celebrate those that have made lasting contributions and this latest class is impressive and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments," said Scott Talbott Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Dr. George Frison was Wyoming’s first state archeologist. For nearly 50 years his deep curiosity in Wyoming’s natural world guided his research, his writing, which includes 14 books and more than 100 academic articles, and his teaching at the University of Wyoming. He was adamant that you cannot talk about the prehistoric world and hunting of that era without understanding the behavior of the prey species. His background in hunting and ranching gave him knowledge of the behavior of animals.
Jerry Galles is a statesman for wildlife. His involvement in conservation has come at all levels and his enthusiasm and care for this heritage fosters action in others. He has poured himself into efforts supporting all manner of wildlife by giving substantially to groups including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Muley Fanatics, the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot, the Natrona County Land Use Committee, the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and in fact the list goes on from there.
Stephen Leek is known as the "Father of the Elk." It is not hyperbole to say he played a significant role in the conservation work that made the current abundance of elk throughout Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains possible. Leek was the driving force behind Congress’ creation of the National Elk Refuge north of Jackson and served in the Wyoming Legislature, where he secured funding to feed elk and pushed changes to prevent groups from harvesting elk for their teeth and tusks.
Dr. Oliver Scott was one of Wyoming’s foremost amateur ornithologists. He significantly contributed to many of the birding resources in our state and in the West. Dr. Scott’s passion for birds fostered Wyoming’s birdwatching community in many ways. When Dr. Scott came to Wyoming in 1948, he became the first board-certified pediatrician in the state, he also brought to Wyoming his love of birds and support for their conservation. He conducted the first Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Casper and was co-founder of the Wyoming Audubon Society, which became the Murie Audubon Society.
Tickets are limited for the induction ceremony and banquet.
BLM seeks comment on Draft Update to Measurement Standards for Oil Produced on Public Lands (posted 9/29/15)
Updates to measurement technology and standards & practices to ensure royalties to government
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a proposed rule today to update and replace its regulations governing the measurement of oil produced from onshore Federal and Indian leases. The requirements contained in the proposed rule reflect advances in measurement technology and critical updates in standards and practices. It also responds directly to concerns from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General, and Secretary’s Subcommittee on Royalty Management, that the BLM’s existing rules do not provide adequate assurance that oil production on public and Indian lands is being accounted for in a way that ensures that all royalties are accurately tracked and paid. These concerns have contributed to the Department’s inclusion on the GAO’s High Risk List.
Public comment on the rule is being sought for 60 days, through November 30, 2015.
"The proposed rule represents yet another important step in the BLM’s modernization of its oil and gas regulations," said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice M. Schneider. "These updates address longstanding concerns about the adequacy of existing regulations and will help ensure that the oil produced from Federal and Indian leases is properly measured and accounted for -- a critical component of ensuring that American taxpayers, Indian tribes and allottees, and States and local governments receive the full royalties they are due."
The proposed rule would replace Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 4 (Order 4), which sets minimum standards for the measurement of oil. Order 4 has not been updated since 1989, and does not reflect modern industry practices or standards.
"It's been almost 30 years since the standards in Onshore Order 4 have been revised," said BLM Director Neil Kornze. "The industry has taken major strides in recent decades and this update reflects those changes in addition to making our regulations more adaptable for the future."
Specifically, the proposed rule would:
• Incorporate proven industry standards developed by oil measurement experts from industry and the BLM.
• Formally authorize the use of Coriolis Measurement Systems (CMSs). Even though CMSs have been proven reliable and accurate, Order 4 currently only expressly allows oil to be measured by manual tank gauging or with a positive displacement meter, which means operators wanting to use CMSs must seek a variance. The proposed rule would eliminate the need for industry to submit, and for the BLM to process, such variance requests.
• Establish a process to recognize and approve the use of new measurement technology and methods, without the BLM having to amend its regulations.
• Increase the accountability of high-volume production wells by requiring operators to verify the accuracy of the meters on those wells more frequently.
• Make changes to improve the BLM’s ability to verify and audit production records in order to ensure that production is being properly tracked.
The proposed rule is the next step in a process that the BLM began in 2011 with tribal consultation meetings and continued in 2013 with public listening sessions. The public listening sessions included representatives from Indian lands, the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, and Federal agencies. Input from the listening sessions, stakeholder outreach, and tribal consultation meetings helped inform the development of the proposed rule.
The BLM's oil and gas management program is one of the most important mineral leasing programs in the Federal government. The total value of annual production is over $33 billion, which generates more than $3 billion in royalty revenue each year from oil and gas leasing activities on federal lands (most of which is shared with state and local governments) and more than $1 billion in royalty revenue from activities on tribal lands (all of which goes to tribes or individual allotees).
The proposed rule may be viewed online at www.regulations.gov.
The BLM encourages the public to participate in the rulemaking process by submitting comments on the proposed rule by November 30, 2015 through one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at this Web site.
• Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 Attention: Regulatory Affairs.
• Personal/messenger delivery: Bureau of Land Management, 20 M. Street SE, Room 2134 LM, Attention: Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20003.
Beware of scam telephone calls pretending to be IRS (posted 9/29/15)
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued another consumer alert on Tuesday (September 29, 2015) warning residents of telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.
"We’ve received a great many reports lately," said Detective Dick Blust, the Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. "These callers are aggressive, even threatening, and they demand money. They can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they often alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request."
Those called are often seniors, Blust said, who can be particularly vulnerable to swindles.
The Sheriff’s Office is passing along tips from the IRS on spotting fake calls. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment; nor will it call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill or other formal notice.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
Blust also said the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss personal tax issues.
For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.
Two grizzly bears relocated for killing livestock (posted 9/29/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department trapped and relocated an adult male grizzly bear Sept. 25 and an adult male grizzly bear Sept. 26. The bears were captured for killing livestock on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment north of Pinedale, Wyoming. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Shoshone National Forest, the bears were independently relocated to the Fox Creek drainage of the Clarks Fork River approximately 15 miles northwest of Crandall, Wyoming. The release site is located in currently occupied grizzly bear habitat.
Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded bear management personnel to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzlies. The decision to relocate and the selection of a relocation site is made taking multiple factors into consideration such as the animal’s age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in. Since grizzly bears are listed as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the appropriate land management agency is also made to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzlies. Bears are relocated in accordance with federal law and regulation. When selecting a relocation site, the department makes every consideration to minimize potential conflicts with people.
Three troublesome grizzly bears relocated Sept. 21, 2015
Grizzly bear relocated from north of Pinedale for killing livestock Sept. 1, 2015
Identity of victim killed in grizzly bear attack released August 10, 2015
Man killed by grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park August 8, 2015
Another grizzly bear relocated from north of Pinedale August 8, 2015
Grizzly bear relocated from north of Pinedale August 8, 2015
Senate pages wanted for Spring 2016 (posted 9/28/15)
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is encouraging Wyoming students who are juniors in high school to apply to be a Senate page for the fall session in Washington, DC.
There are a total of 30 page positions in the United States Senate each session and Enzi is fortunate to have the opportunity to sponsor a young adult from Wyoming to serve in one of these positions. The deadline for fall applications is November 4.
"The page program allows students to have a front row seat during debates in the U.S. Senate," said Enzi. "The program will provide experiences that participants will carry with them forever."
Page duties consist primarily of delivering correspondence and legislative material at the Capitol. Other duties include preparing the Senate chamber for sessions and carrying bills and amendments to the appropriate people on the Senate floor.
Pages attend classes at the Senate Page School from 6:15 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. and then work until 4:00 p.m. or until the Senate adjourns for the day. The Senate Page School provides a rigorous academic course of studies and the necessary requisites for a junior year course of study.
Spring page eligibility is limited to juniors in high school who will be 16 or 17 years old on or before the date of appointment. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
Pages live in Webster Hall located near the Capitol and receive a stipend to cover the cost of the residence. Breakfast and dinner are provided each day.
The spring session runs from February 1, 2016 – June 10, 2016. The application and additional information can be found by going to www.enzi.senate.gov. Further questions can be directed to Dianne Kirkbride in Senator Enzi’s Cheyenne office at 307-772-2477 or Dianne_Kirkbride@enzi.senate.gov.
Barrasso accepting Military Academy Nomination applications (posted 9/28/15)
U.S. Senator John Barrasso
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today (Monday, Sept. 28, 2015), U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) announced that he is accepting applications for nominations to the U.S. military service academies for the 2016 school year. Senator Barrasso nominates Wyoming students to compete for appointments to the Military, Naval, Air Force and Merchant Marine academies.
"Nominating some of Wyoming’s best and brightest students to our nation’s military academies is one of the greatest privileges I have as a U.S. senator," said Barrasso. "I strongly encourage all those students who are interested to apply."
Young men and women interested in U.S. service academies apply to members of Congress for nominations. Senator Barrasso’s Academy Nominations Board evaluates all students who apply based on academic achievement, leadership, extracurricular and athletic activities.
To be nominated, a student must be a Wyoming resident between 17 and 22 years of age. He or she must complete an application form (available on www.Barrasso.Senate.Gov) and provide the following information:
• Academic record/high school transcript
• Letter or essay describing career goals of the applicant
• Results of Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and/or American College Testing (ACT) scores
• Three letters of recommendation from various sources (school officials, coaches, community leaders)
Following a nomination, final selection and appointment is made by each service academy based on: character, scholarship, leadership, physical fitness, motivation and suitability for a military career.
To be considered for a nomination, the completed application should be postmarked by October 31, 2015. Those students who meet the requirements will be invited to an interview with my Academy Nominations Board in Casper on December 5.
For more information about my nomination process, or to obtain an application packet, please contact Chelsea Rodekuhr in Senator Barrasso's Cheyenne office at:
U.S. Senator John Barrasso
2120 Capitol Avenue, Suite 2013
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
DOI decides Greater Sage Grouse doesn’t need ESA protection (posted 9/22/15)
The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) issued its decision that the Greater Sage Grouse does not need federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The long-awaited decision was announced on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
"Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners across 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage-grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act," the DOI posted on its website.
Video – Sally Jewell – Sage Grouse listing decision U.S. Department of the Interior, September 22, 2015
US rejects protections for greater sage grouse across West Fox News, Sept. 22, 2015
Sage Grouse Bird Does Not Need Protection, U.S. Decides NPR, Sept. 22, 2015
U.S. Trying to Protect Sage Grouse Without Listing It as an Endangered Species New York Times, Sept. 22, 2015
The Greater Sage-Grouse Will Avoid "Endangered" Status Due to Herculean Land Conservation Effort National Audubon Society, September 22, 2015
WAFWA Report Documents Greater Sage-Grouse Population Rebound Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), August 17, 2015
Q&A: What is a sage grouse and why is the bird imperiled? The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, September 22, 2015
Greater Sage Grouse Listing Decision Timeline State of Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Program