This Week’s Market Buzz

• Dr. Linda Capuano, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), said, “The short-term outlook continues to forecast that Brent crude oil spot prices will average $63 per barrel in both 2018 and 2019, while West Texas Intermediate will remain below $60 per barrel, averaging about $4 per barrel less than Brent in both years. EIA continues to forecast record crude oil production in the United States for both 2018 and 2019, largely as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in tight rock formations, especially in the Permian region. April’s short-term outlook expects U.S. production to average 10.7 million barrels per day in 2018, which would be a new record and represent an increase of nearly 15 percent from 2017 to 2018.”

• A two-year battle to build a frac sand plant on 16 acres of rare wetlands in Monroe County, Wis., is coming to a head this spring, according to a report by Wisconsin Public Radio. A judge will decide if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) followed the law when it approved the project last year. Staff at the DNR said they felt pressured by department administration to rush the approval of a controversial permit to fill 16 acres of high-quality wetlands in western Wisconsin that’s now being challenged in court. In 2014, Atlanta-based Meteor Timber bought 50,000 acres of Wisconsin forestland and became the largest private landowner in the state. After discovering 137 million tons of frac sand on property it purchased in Jackson County, the company proposed building a mine. It also proposed building a sand-processing plant and rail-loading facility on land that currently hosts a cranberry farm 14 miles away in the town of Grant. The plant would ship up to 1.5 million tons of finished sand each year to oilfields in the Permian Basin of Texas. The plan drew immediate criticism from environmental groups because it required filling 16 acres of high-quality wetlands including 13 acres of rare, white pine-red maple swamp.

• Badger Mining Corp. (BMC) welcomed Angelo LaMantia as the company’s new strategic leader for transportation, distribution and logistics. LaMantia’s primary responsibility will be leading BMC’s logistics division as it leverages the latest in technology, innovation, efficiency and best practices. “Badger Mining realizes that innovation and leadership in logistics is integral to providing our customers with a world class customer service experience,” said Cody Wickersheim, member of the Advisory Team at BMC. “As such, we were patient in our search to find the best candidate who could help us elevate our game on this front. LaMantia’s record speaks for itself. His energy level, talent, and customer-driven philosophy adds another heavy lifter to our leadership team. We welcome Angelo to the Badger family and are looking forward to creating the next chapter of our future with him on our team.”

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