Alaska to EPA – “We don’t need your help.”

Alaska steps into legal battle over hard rock mining regulation
Alaska Public Media, Krysti Shallenberger, June 21, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to roll back a regulation to make hard rock mining companies pay for cleanup is sparking a new legal battle between Alaska and environmental groups. The state is intervening in a lawsuit over the EPA’s decision to rescind an Obama-era rule that would make sure hard rock mining companies pay for cleaning up their messes, even if they go bankrupt.

Our Take: Rolling back Obama-era rules is no easy task – but it’s worth the effort. As Cori Mills, spokesperson for the Alaska AG’s offices notes, the state of Alaska already has a process in place to deal with the issue. “We don’t need the EPA’s help.”

AGDC selects shortest, least expensive Spur Highway route
The Peninsula Clarion, June 21, 2018

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has chosen a route for the Kenai Spur Highway around its planned natural gas liquefaction plant. The preferred route, announced in a public meeting in Nikiski on Wednesday evening, would stay relatively close to the edge of the planned plant near the bluff in Nikiski. The rerouted section would be about 3.4 miles long, departing the current highway around mile 19, joining North Miller Loop and rejoining the existing highway between miles 21 and 22.

Our Take: AKHEADLAMP is looking for some big news out of AGDC today. Stay tuned!

OPEC Influencers
S&P Global, June 21, 2018

OPEC and its oil-producing allies have an important decision to make on June 22. At their meeting in Vienna the group, which controls almost half of global supply, will decide whether to boost output to ease prices or stick to quotas and risk cooling demand. Their task would be easy if supply and demand were the only factors determining policy and prices, which climbed above $80/b last month. Oil markets are among the world’s most complex, with a diverse range of actors influencing sentiment. The S&P Global Platts OPEC Influencers interactive chart is designed to illustrate how various players drive prices through their actions and words.

Our Take: After all the news leading up to today’s meeting – AKHEADLAMP is pleased to see that someone has made a game, literally, out of the OPEC decision making process! Happy Friday!

Russia-Saudi Plans for Super-OPEC Could Reshape Global Order
Bloomberg Markets, Will Kennedy, Elena Mazneva , and Wael Mahdi, June 22, 2018

When the group overseeing the so-called OPEC+ deal met last night, proceedings were dominated by two nations: Saudi Arabia and Russia. It was probably a snapshot of the oil market’s future. Beyond the drama of this week’s diplomatic efforts to agree to an increase in oil production, the more significant longer-term development may be moves to make Russia’s role in managing global supply permanent, bringing together the two largest oil exporters. Russia isn’t a member of OPEC, but for the last two years has led a group of countries outside the group lending support to the cartel, creating a coalition of 24 producers that’s been dubbed OPEC+.

Our Take: Certainly, something to watch. Will it be a “seismic shift in oil’s world order” or will it go the way of Russia’s Gas Exporting Countries Forum, and have little impact on supply?

U.S. Asks Japan to Halt Iran Oil Buying in Harder Stance

Bloomberg Markets, Tsuyoshi Inajima  and Serene Cheong, June 22, 2018

The U.S. has asked Japan to completely halt oil imports from Iran, going beyond the reductions that were demanded when sanctions were imposed earlier this decade, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The request to stop imports entirely signals a tougher American stance than in 2012, when nations were allowed to continue buying at reduced levels in exchange for waivers from U.S. financial restrictions.

Inside a Heist of American Chip Designs as China Bids for Tech Power
CNBC, Paul Mozur, June 22, 2018

With a dragnet closing in, engineers at a Taiwanese chip maker holding American secrets did their best to conceal a daring case of corporate espionage. As the police raided their offices, human resources workers gave the engineers a warning to scramble and get rid of the evidence. USB drives, laptops and documents were handed to a lower-level employee, who hid them in her locker. Then she walked one engineer’s phone out the front door.

OPEC+ to Boost Oil Output After Saudis Secure Deal With Iran
Bloomberg, Javier Blas, Julian Lee and Salma El Wardany, June 22, 2018

OPEC and allies including Russia will boost oil production starting next month, offering relief to consumers after Saudi Arabia secured a last-minute deal to overcome Iran’s opposition. While it fudged some differences between members, the agreement is a victory for Riyadh and Moscow, which for a month have advocated for a production increase to alleviate high prices. It’s also a success for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has criticized the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for inflating the cost of fuel.