Headlamp – Cuomo’s Contradiction, AK Oil Spill Regs, Automation Offshore

Cuomo’s Carbon Contradiction

The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2019

Mr. Cuomo wants to make New York ground zero in the left’s plan to purge fossil fuels. First he banned shale fracking in southern New York despite its huge potential to boost local economies. Then he blocked a natural-gas pipeline from Pennsylvania that would have reduced energy bills and reliance on heating oil.

As a coup de grâce, in May he vetoed another pipeline to bring natural gas to Long Island from New Jersey. National Grid, which provides natural gas on Long Island, responded rationally by imposing a moratorium on natural-gas hookups to prevent supply disruptions when demand spikes in the winter.

This essentially stranded tens of thousands of folks waiting for gas hookups, including more than a thousand who had deactivated their service after moving or renovating. Apparently Mr. Cuomo didn’t understand that the result of his pipeline blockade was to force residents to use more expensive and less-efficient electric appliances for space and water heating.

Our take: “Consider this another parable of how the political campaign to ban fossil fuels is detached from energy and economic reality.” Meanwhile, as winter looms just around the corner, let’s remember Headlamp’s go-to slogan: Markets, not Mandates.

Alaska regulators taking public comment on possible oil spill plan changes

Becky Bohrer, KTOO, October 19, 2019

Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the state of Alaska is looking at whether to change its requirements for oil spill prevention and response plans.

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune said there’s no intent to do away with the plans. He said the department wants to make sure the rules are not outdated.

Brune said he has heard from many Alaskans that contingency plans “are unnecessarily burdensome while lacking corresponding environmental benefits.”

Successful test aboard ‘Norwegian Cinderella’ holds promising future for automated offshore rigs

Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, October 21, 2019

Houston oilfield service company Baker Hughes and the Norwegian energy company Equinor successfully tested automated and remote-controlled systems that were recently installed aboard the Askepott, an offshore drilling rig named after the Norwegian version of the fairy tale princess Cinderella.

Tasks such as cementing, fluid engineering and directional drilling can now be performed remotely by an operator working out of a control center miles away in the coastal city of Tananger. Connected to Askepott by an underwater fiber optic cable, Baker Hughes staff have performed their first cementing jobs via remote control on a pair of oil wells in the North Sea’s Oseberg field.

Our take: Increased safety, increased efficiency, no jobs lost… What’s not to like! Bravo Baker Hughes and Equinor!

Big U.S. liquefied natgas players move fast; smaller ones try to keep up

Scott DiSavino & Sabina Zawadzki, Reuters, October 17, 2019

A gap is emerging in the U.S. liquefied natural gas industry as big players such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Cheniere Energy Inc race ahead to build export terminals with fewer long-term contracts, while smaller developers struggle to find financing for their first plants.

[The LNG trade] is changing. As the market grows and pricing mechanisms diversify, some buyers do not want to commit to 20-year contracts. The growing prowess of oil majors such as Exxon and recent entrants such as Cheniere and trading houses means there are aggregators that can supply buyers more flexibly, making it harder for smaller players.

From the Daily on Energy:

RENEWABLES ON THE RISE: Total global renewable power is set to more than double in the next five years, the International Energy Agency says in a new report out Monday. In fact, IEA projects an increase of 1,200 gigawatts by 2024, an amount equal to all the power capacity in the U.S. currently.

enewables’ doubling will be driven largely by increasing solar power — with China set to take over with the world’s largest solar PV capacity. Overall costs for solar and wind will continue to tumble, too, the IEA says.

Putting the numbers in perspective: A doubling in global renewable capacity isn’t as ambitious as it sounds. According to the IEA, the huge growth it projects in solar PV through 2024 represents a mere 6% of the technology’s total potential worldwide.

And the renewables’ growth IEA projects isn’t nearly enough to meet global climate goals. “Renewables are already the world’s largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality, and energy access goals,” Fatih Birol, IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.