The Wyoming Economic Analysis Division shows in their most recent December issue of Wyoming Insight that oil prices are falling while natural gas prices continue to decline.

"The West Texas Intermediate monthly average price for crude oil was $71.90 per barrel (bbl). in December," said Dylan Bainer, principal economist for the state's Economic Analysis Division. Average active oil rigs were 10 in December and the conventional gas rig count was 1. A year ago, there were 19 oil rigs and 4 conventional gas rigs.

"Natural gas spot prices at the national benchmark (Henry Hub) decreased in December," Bainer said. "Spot prices at the Opal Hub, which mostly reflect markets in the west (particularly California), also decreased compared to last month."

The December 2023 natural gas price at the Opal Hub averaged $3.14 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), $1.54 less than last month. The Henry Hub natural gas price averaged $2.52/MMBtu in December, $0.19 less than last month.

Other highlights from the issue report that the mining sector sales and use tax revenues continue to improve.

Oil and gas employment as well as mining employment is still "down big" compared to pre-pandemic levels.

"Oil & Gas employment in the state numbered 8,800 jobs in November 2023, 600 less than November last year," said Bainer. Before the Covid-19 pandemic started to have a large impact on the economy in April of 2020, oil & gas employment in the state numbered nearly 12,000 jobs.

"Relative to February 2020 (before the pandemic hit the labor market in March 2020), total employment has surpassed pre-covid levels, but employment in the mining sector has still not fully recovered," said Bainer. Compared to February 2020, total employment was up 6,200 jobs in November 2023, but employment in the mining sector was down 3,200 jobs.

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