Headlamp – Is Fairbanks one step closer to low-cost energy? Obama-era WOTUS take another hit.

Alaska gas utility deal set to close this week
KTUU, June 10, 2018

A multimillion-dollar business deal with ramifications for the cost of energy in Fairbanks is set to close this week. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the deal is between the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the State of Alaska to expand natural gas availability. The Interior Energy Project says the deal will “bring low-cost energy to as many residents and businesses of Interior Alaska as possible, as quickly as possible.” The borough-owned Interior Gas Utility is purchasing Fairbanks Natural Gas and other assets from the state-owned Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which is financing the purchase along with major expansions to natural gas piping and storage for $330 million. The Interior Gas Utility board is set to meet Tuesday. The deadline to close the deal is midnight Thursday.

Our Take: If this deal brings “low-cost energy, as quickly as possible” to Fairbanks – AKHEADLAMP will be thrilled. We are always skeptical of a government entity pushing aside the private sector to “make” something happen instead of letting the free market work. Cautiously optimistic.

New LNG contract framework to spur oil-like trading model
Reuters, Oleg Vukmanovic, June 7, 2018

A new umbrella contract meant to streamline trading of liquefied natural gas (LNG), bogged down in red tape and wrangling over terms, could boost liquidity, draw in new entrants and speed up the market’s transition to an oil-like model. Already a mainstay of crude oil and pipeline gas trading, general terms and conditions (GTCs) provide a framework that traders can opt into by reference, scrapping the cumbersome system which currently sees LNG bought and sold through a web of bilateral master sales agreements (MSAs).

U.S. Sanctions Russian Firms for Energy Grid Cyberattack
Bloomberg Politics, Saleha Mohsin, June 11, 2018

The U.S. imposed new sanctions Monday on Russian firms and individuals for helping the country’s state security service conduct cyberattacks targeting the American energy grid and other key infrastructure. Russian hackers conducted a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, air transportation facilities and other infrastructure since at least March 2016, the Homeland Security Department and FBI warned in March. The attacks are still ongoing, according to a person familiar with the matter. At least a dozen U.S. power plants – including one nuclear facility – have been breached as part of the coordinated attacks, Bloomberg reported last year.

Former Alaska senator, Mark Begich, runs for governor
KMXT, Kayla Desroches, June 8, 2018

Former Alaska U.S. senator and Anchorage mayor, Democrat Mark Begich, is running for governor. Begich says, as governor, he’d boost his role in the area of climate change. He says the state is “ground zero” when it comes to climate change and says the transition to renewable energy is one possible move forward.

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

HOUSE GOP BLOCKS OBAMA-ERA RULES ON COST OF CLIMATE CHANGE: The House GOP on Friday took a step forward in reining in the Obama administration’s method of assessing the cost of carbon dioxide pollution when developing regulations. The House voted 212-201, along party lines, to include a rider blocking the use of the climate change cost metric to an energy and water spending bill. The amendment offered by Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert bars any and all funds from being used under the bill to “prepare, propose, or promulgate any regulation that relies on the Social Carbon analysis” devised under the Obama administration on how to value the cost of carbon.

Our Take: How did we get to the point of using “social carbon analysis” as a cost metric on energy projects? Credible science should be the metric. Kudos to the House for blocking the use of this crazy climate change metric.

FEDERAL JUDGE GRANTS INJUNCTION AGAINST WATER RULE IN 11 STATES: A federal judge granted on Friday a preliminary injunction against the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule in 11 states. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, a George W. Bush appointee, said the states have a strong chance of winning their arguments against the 2015 rule, known as WOTUS, so she stayed it.

Half and half: The ruling applies to Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Kentucky. The rule has now been halted in 25 states, after a previous court ruling against it. It may have little lasting impact, however, as Pruitt’s EPA has already finalized a rule delaying the rule until 2020 and is writing a new version. Chasing waterfalls: The rule seeks to expand which U.S. waterways are considered part of the national water system to be regulated by the EPA.