Alaska companies and Alaska government targeted by Chinese hackers

Chinese hackers targeted U.S. firms, govt after trade mission: researchers
Christopher Bing and Jack Stubbs, Reuters, August 16, 2018

Hackers operating from an elite Chinese university probed American companies and government departments for espionage opportunities following a U.S. trade delegation visit to China earlier this year, security researchers told Reuters. Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future said the group used computers at China’s Tsinghua University to target U.S. energy and communications companies, as well as the Alaskan state government, in the weeks before and after Alaska’s trade mission to China. Led by Governor Bill Walker, representatives of companies and economic development agencies spent a week in China in May.

Our Take: A bit unnerving to see Alaska companies and Alaska’s government listed as targets of Chinese hackers who were looking for “espionage opportunities.”

State seeks to boost geothermal energy production
Joe Vigil, KTVA, August 15, 2018

Do you know of a good geothermal hot spot in Alaska? If you do, the state wants to know about it. The state may then hold a lease sale on the land to provide more energy opportunities in Alaska. “Alaska is located along the most active tectonic and volcanic region in the world, but so far, its geothermal resource potential is largely untapped,” according to the Division of Oil and Gas.   The Division is asking people to nominate state-owned lands with geothermal potential for possible testing. If the state likes what it sees, then it may hold a lease sale to “qualified bidders”, similar to oil and gas leases. A lot would have to happen before a lease sale happened, including public comment opportunities.

Our Take: Headlamp is happy to help the local press do their job. This isn’t a new thing. Here is a great review of what has been done in the past in Alaska, where we are using geothermal now and some of the challenges.

ConocoPhillips: Efficiencies and discoveries lead ‘renaissance’ on North Slope
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, August 16, 2018

ConocoPhillips Alaska employees have a big, round target to hit that company leaders believe is the key to staying competitive. And it’s not a buried treasure map that points right to where the next exploration well should be drilled — although with the company’s recent success indicates they might have one of those, too. “It’s just math,” ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack said during an Aug. 9 meeting with Alaska Journal of Commerce and ADN staff. The target is $40 per barrel and making the math work so all of the company’s operations in the state are profitable at or below that key price point.

Dow surges 350 points on resumption of China trade talks, Walmart 10% jump
Fred Imbert and Alexandra Gibbs, CNBC Business, August 16, 2018

Stocks traded sharply higher on Thursday on renewed hope that a resolution to a trade dispute with China could be on the horizon. Investors also cheered strong quarterly results from Walmart. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 350 points, led by gains in Walmart and Cisco Systems. The S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent as consumer staples and telecom outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.7 percent. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow confirmed to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” earlier reports saying China and the U.S. will hold a fresh round of trade talks later in August, giving investors hope that the two world’s largest economies can solve an ongoing trade spat.

Oil shrugs at revival of U.S.-China trade talks to ease tensions
Ellen Milligan, World Oil, August 16, 2018

Signs of easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies have done little to lift oil as surging U.S. stockpiles offset potential gains in crude futures. Oil in New York was little changed while crude in London rose just 0.2% despite the announcement that the U.S and China are to resume trade talks in an attempt to diffuse geopolitical tensions between the two countries. A breakdown in negotiations between the U.S. and China two months ago stoked concern that global economic growth could slow, potentially curbing energy consumption. A standoff between the U.S. and Turkey subsequently sparked fears of contagion among emerging markets. A surprise gain in U.S. oil inventories last week has also weighed on crude futures.