Headlamp – all ANWR all the time…and what else does the Arctic hold?

Alaskans testify on opening 1002. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is bringing together a slew of Alaskans, mostly pro-drilling, to testify at a Senate hearing about what it would mean to open up the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Murkowski has regularly offered up legislation to open the so-called “10-02” coastal area of ANWR to drilling, but may have the best chance of passage in decades by attaching a provision to tax cut legislation congressional Republicans are planning for this year. As chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski is in charge of finding $1 billion in additional tax revenue, which she hopes to draw from federal leasing profits.

$1B in revenue from ANWR? For decades, environmental groups warned that Big Oil would plunder the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if Congress opened the area to drilling. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing on whether to allow drilling in the refuge as part of the Republican tax plan, and now the environmental argument has shifted. A report commissioned by the Alaska Wilderness League claims drilling advocates are exaggerating industry’s interest in the refuge. The budget plan Congress passed last month calls on the Senate Energy Committee to come up with $1 billion in federal revenues over the next decade. Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs that committee and says allowing oil lease sales in the refuge are the best way to fulfill the directive.

From Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:

MURKOWSKI SAYS DRILLING IN ARCTIC REFUGE CAN RAISE $1 BILLION: Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed confidence Thursday morning that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a longtime Republican goal, could raise $1 billion over 10 years to help pay for tax reform…“The first 10 years are just the start of a 40-year period where responsible production raises billions of dollars in revenues for our country every year,” Murkowski said at the opening of a three-panel hearing to discuss the topic. “We will see the benefits over decades, not just over the 10-year budget window.”…“We are not asking to develop all of the 1002 area,” Murkowski said. “We are asking for 2,000 acres, about one ten-thousandth of ANWR. We have waited nearly 40 years for the right technology to come along for a footprint small enough for environment to be respected. This is not a choice between energy and the environment. We are past that.”

‘Caribou for millionaires’: Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat, said she doubted Republicans could raise $1 billion over 10 years. “We are here today because someone came up with the ludicrous idea to take a sliver out of the wildlife refuge to pay for tax reform,” Cantwell said. “I almost want to call this ‘caribou for millionaires.’ I find it hard to believe there will be an economic incentive to drill in the refuge. There is no new science that says we don’t have to worry about this wildlife, no new science to say oil will take up a smaller footprint. I am disturbed.”

IGU wants changes to Pentex deal. Interior Gas Utility manager Jomo Stewart said Tuesday revisions must be made to the proposed sale and finance agreement before he could recommend the utility buy Pentex from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. Pentex assets include Fairbanks Natural Gas, the Titan LNG gas liquefaction plant, and a truck hauling operation. AIDEA has proposed to sell Pentex to the borough-owned Interior Gas Utility for about $58 million. On Thursday, John Springsteen, its CEO, was authorized to sign off on the agreement before Nov. 30. Any further action on AIDEA’s end of the deal, including revisions, would require action from its board of directors. Stewart and his team have reviewed the deal since taking a first look Oct. 25. He said the document had “internal conflicts,” comparing it to a Swiss-made watch. “The major financial provisions are good,” Stewart said of the contract. “We did a thorough review. I did meet with my team yesterday. We have identified some small instances in which the gears of the Swiss watch don’t quite mesh.”

Bringing STEM to girls in Anchorage. The Anchorage School District is working to get more girls interested in math and science careers. The district partnered with the Girl Scouts of Alaska and Exxon Mobile to host Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Environmental engineer Sonia Laughlin taught students cosmetics and chemical engineering go hand-in-hand during her science lesson on lip gloss. “Most people when they think about engineering don’t think about makeup. They think about oil and gas or Procter & Gamble manufacturing. But makeup gets manufactured as well,” Laughlin explained. She showed the girls how to take four simple ingredients—coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter and olive oil—and transform the liquids into a solid gloss. The goal is to get girls considering STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—careers earlier in their education.

I’ll bet you a nickel that the Arctic holds more than oil. The Arctic is often imagined as a new energy frontier because of its ample oil reserves. But what if its nickel is actually the resource that becomes the region’s most sought-after commodity? That may happen in the not-so-distant future if trends in the automobile industry continue to shift towards electric vehicles. At present, the Arctic is estimated to hold some 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil. Many Arctic and non-Arctic countries alike hope that oil from the far north can help slake the world’s addiction to the fossil fuel. At the same time, particularly in the wake of the Paris Agreement, the world is trying to shift away from burning fossil fuels. Countries like Norway and China, both of which are active in Arctic oil exploration, are also attempting to reduce the amount of cars on their roads that rely on petroleum. By 2025 in Norway, all passenger vehicles are supposed to be zero-emission.

First Reads:

Alaskans to testify Thursday in U.S. Senate hearing on drilling in ANWR
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, November

Can Congress squeeze $1b from ANWR?
Alaska Public Media, Liz Ruskin, November 1, 2017

IGU demands changes to Pentex deal
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Kevin Baird, November 1, 2017

‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’ highlights STEM careers
KTVA, Heather Hintze, November 1, 2017

Arctic nickel — not Arctic oil — could soon power the world’s cars
Arctic Now, Mia Bennett, November 2, 2017