Alaska Primary Election Results. Trump digs coal, will Germany follow?

Dunleavy wins Republican slot in 3-way race for governor

Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, August 22, 2018

Former Wasilla state Sen. Mike Dunleavy built a big early lead and held it over former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Tuesday, winning the Republican primary race for Alaska governor. His victory sets up a three-way race in November’s general election, with Dunleavy facing incumbent Gov. Bill Walker, who is running as an independent, and former U.S. Sen Mark Begich, a Democrat. With 95 percent of the precincts counted statewide by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dunleavy had 62 percent of the vote compared with 32 percent for Treadwell.

Our Take: Where do we go from here? Polls have shown that Dunleavy wins a three-way race. September 4th is the deadline for dropping out of the race – before they print the ballots – will Governor Walker or Senator Begich get out? In a Dunleavy vs. Walker race, Headlamp sees the PFD as the defining issue. Can Governor Walker win back Alaskans who are angry about the reduction of the PFD? In a Dunleavy vs. Begich race, Headlamp sees spending as the defining issue, since both candidates have similar views on the PFD. Which candidate will reduce spending to avoid future reductions in the PFD?

The big surprises of the evening? Representative Gabrielle Ledoux and Senator Peter Micciche in races too close to call. Check out all the election results here.

Merkel Allies Pressure Her to Keep Coal Plants Running
Brian Parkin and William Wilkes, Bloomberg, August 22, 2018

Germany’s states are upping pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep coal-fired power for as long as 30 years as the nation approaches a deadline for setting an exit date from the fossil fuel. Merkel’s administration is committed to shuttering about 120 lignite and hard-coal plants to cut emissions and plans to set a final exit point in October. As the deadline nears, six states where coal power is concentrated have banded together to keep an extended lifeline for the stations.

Trump can still meet Obama’s coal pollution target, even after gutting signature rule
Josh Siegel, The Washington Examiner, August 22, 2018

A key justification the Trump administration provided in moving Tuesday to gut President Barack Obama’s signature climate change initiative targeting coal plants is the fact that the power market is already naturally becoming cleaner, making strict regulation unnecessary in its judgment. Even with a more limited scope, the EPA’s rule will see power sector emissions falling 33 to 34 percent below 2005 levels, according to the Trump administration’s projections — meeting the target that Obama set.

Alaska to hold atypical lease sale in November in a bid to boost exploration
S & P Global Platts, August 21, 2018

Alaska will conduct a special North Slope lease sale in November offering groups of leases packaged in three blocks, with the state also making large amounts of 3-D seismic data available to bidders, a state official said Tuesday. Bidders will be required to make a single offer on the entire package of leases, Mark Wiggins, state Deputy Commissioner of Natural Resources, said in an interview. The special sale will be held at the same time that Alaska holds its regular fall North Slope “area-wide” sale, but will be conducted separately, Wiggins said.

Shipowner GasLog will have the two LNG carriers built in South Korea.
Mark Smedley, Natural Gas World, August 21, 2018

Monaco-based LNG tankers owner GasLog announced August 20 the signing of two new charters, each for a firm period of seven years, with US LNG exporter Cheniere Energy. While most of the company’s nameplate capacity at its liquefaction facility at Sabine Pass was pre-sold, it reserved some capacity for its own use. GasLog said that to fulfil the charters it has ordered two carriers, each with capacity to carry 174,000 m3 of LNG, from South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries, with expected delivery late 2020. “The rate of hire for the charters is broadly in line with mid-cycle rates and delivers returns in line with GasLog’s financial strategy,” the shipowner said. It also agreed an option with Cheniere for the charter of one or two additional newbuild LNG carriers.

Our Take: Is the conversation about shipping Alaska’s gas via tankers really dead? Headlamp hears whispers…

From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:

SENATORS PUSH FERC TO CLEAR BACKLOG OF NATURAL GAS EXPORT PLANTS: Senators are growing impatient with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s struggle to clear a backlog of applications for natural gas export facilities that are key to achieving Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda.

A group of Republican senators led by Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre urging the commission to approve permits for liquified natural gas export facilities “in a timely manner.”

Here’s the problem: The U.S. has only two facilities along the coasts to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, the chilled, liquid form that gas must be converted to for it to be shipped in giant tanker vessels across seas.

Another four are set to enter service by the end of 2019, and four more have earned regulatory approval.

But more than a dozen are awaiting permitting approval from FERC, a backlog that the panel is struggling to meet because of a manpower shortage, and other issues. McIntyre testified to Congress that LNG export applications are becoming “larger, more complex, and more expensive.”

It’s been three years since FERC approved a new LNG plant.

The Morning Headlamp — An Arctic Nation Without Icebreakers…Action Necessary

America to be without a single icebreaker for the Arctic by 2019? For Alaska’s resource development future and America’s national security this is a path not to tread down.

America once had a strong fleet of seven heavy icebreakers, but now has only one remaining. Sadly, the reality is that the Arctic has been neglected, for the country hasn’t “commissioned a new [icebreaker] in 40 years. The Coast Guard’s sole remaining vessel, the Polar Star, is slated for retirement as early as 2019.” Heavy icebreakers serve many necessary functions relating to national security, commerce, and research purposes. As new shipping lanes in the Arctic continue to open, America and Alaska are being left in the dust. Russia, for example, is adding a dozen icebreakers to what already is the world’s biggest fleet of 41 icebreakers. This sorry state of affairs led Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan to say, “The highways of the Arctic are paved by icebreakers. Right now, the Russians have superhighways, and we have dirt roads with potholes.”

Thanks to Alaska, America is an Arctic nation. However, without Congressional action regarding the funding for new icebreakers America’s presence and legitimacy as an Arctic nation will be severely diminished. Alaska’s Congressional delegation, and even the Obama administration recognize that America needs more icebreakers. The White House said in a statement that “heavy icebreakers will ensure that the United States can meet our national interests, protect and manage our natural resources, and strengthen our international … relationships.”

Alaska is losing its competitive edge due to our slipping levels of economic freedom as Headlamp outlined in a previous post. The Arctic is estimated to hold one quarter of the world’s oil and gas reserves. The U.S. should give a lot more attention and focus on developing the Arctic given such tremendous quantities of oil and gas resources. Headlamp certainly hopes that Alaska’s state leaders, and Congressional delegation can work to bring about a greater national interest in the Arctic, in a manner that shows how responsible resource development is fully possibly and already ongoing in this land of opportunity. The United States can no longer afford its complacency and must recognize the vital role icebreakers play in meeting the strategic challenges and opportunities ahead.

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First Reads

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Alaska Energy News

America Must Build More Icebreakers or We’ll Lose the Battle for the Arctic
Wired, Gregory Noddin Poulin, January 5, 2016