Alpha Natural Resources, a supplier of metallurgical coal, announced Sept. 26 that it will close three mines in West Virginia because of weak market conditions and government regulations challenging the Central Appalachian mining industry.

The closures are expected to eliminate 261 jobs.

Coal mining jobs have been disappearing for more than 30 years. As of March 2014, the United States had around 79,000 jobs in coal mining, 8.3 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to USA Today.

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Chevron Adds Partner in Canadian Shale Play

Chevron Corp. announced Oct. 6 that its subsidiary, Chevron Canada Ltd., has sold a 30 percent stake in the company’s 330,000 net acres of the Duvernay Shale Play in Western Alberta to a subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Exploration Company.

The deal was for $1.5 billion, according to Yahoo Finance. Chevron Canada will retain ownership of the other 70 percent and will continue as the operator of the field.

The closing of the deal is set for November. According to Canada’s Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Duvernay Shale Play holds about 443 trillion cubic feet of gas, 11.3 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and 61.7 billion barrels of oil.

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Report Says Refining Oil in Canada is Economically Feasible

According to a report commissioned by the Alberta (Canada) Federation of Labour, refining oil in Canada is economically feasible and will funnel thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into the local economy.

The report, which analyzed the rising cost of construction in Alberta, the price of oil, pipeline market access and global energy demands, says building more refineries in Alberta is economically possible.

Although Alberta has refining capacity, it’s been more than 30 years since a new one was built in the province. Plans for $100 billion worth of new refineries northeast of Edmonton slowly collapsed during the recession in 2008, according to the Fort McMurray Today.

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The report puts much of the burden on the government, saying the provincial or federal government could offer incentives or joint venture partnerships to encourage oilsands investment in upgrading.

Mexico Attempts to Entice Louisiana Oil Industry

Louisiana oil companies could benefit from recent changes to Mexico’s constitution and oil policies. The changes have opened up the state-run oil industry to foreign investment, according to the Daily World in Opelousas, La.

The newspaper says a delegation of Mexican government and oil company officials recently met at the LITE Center with local officials and oil industry leaders to discuss possibilities. Mexico hopes to entice Louisiana companies to expand southward.

The presentation centered on the Mexican state of Tabasco in southeastern Mexico, which borders Guatemala and the Gulf of Mexico. The Mexican government hopes to develop the Port of Frontera on the Gijalva River into a major port for oil-related activity.

Louisiana officials say the oil industry in Mexico is “about to explode” and that they need “anything and everything” to advance drilling off the Mexican coast. That includes expertise, equipment and skilled operators.

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