US and China agree on trade as Alaska’s governor meets Chinese vice premier
KTUU, Leroy Polk, May 21, 2018
Trade tensions between U.S. and China eased considerably Monday as officials with both countries signaled “significant progress” towards an agreement on trade matters. Governor Walker and others met with Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing as part of the Alaska trade mission to China. Walker extended thanks to both Pres. Donald Trump and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping, for “working together to improve trade relations between our countries.” According to Walker, the news from Washington proved to be a big boon for the Alaska mission, stating, “The timing of our trade mission could not be better” and claimed “Alaska LNG Project is key to reducing the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.”
Thank Goodness For U.S. Natural Gas Exports
Forbes, Jude Clemente, May 20, 2018
A recent article caught my attention and hopefully yours, “Trump’s Iran Move May Kick Worst U.S. Gas Market While It’s Down.” There is indeed logic to the simplified idea: rising oil prices mean rising rig counts and rising oil production, which means rising associated natural gas production and thus falling natural gas prices.
Our Take: Driven by the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, rising oil prices mean two important things for our LNG, which is surely a larger baseload demand market for us than piped gas to Mexico. First, long-term LNG supply contracts linked to oil prices will get more expensive, upping the competitiveness of our non-oil indexed LNG. Second, U.S. gas production, especially in Texas, should grow as higher oil prices mean more drilling.
Murkowski Welcomes Final List of Critical Minerals
Federal Register, Interior Department, May 18,2018
“I thank Secretary Zinke for his efforts to develop this list of minerals, highlighting our most critical vulnerabilities,” Murkowski said. “These minerals are needed for energy, healthcare, manufacturing, defense, agriculture, and other technologies, and we must now take real steps to secure a reliable, long-term domestic supply.”
Our Take: The estimated value of rare-earth compounds and metals imported by the United States in 2017 was $150 million, a significant increase from $118 million imported in 2016. The growing demand is driven by the increased use of REEs in today’s high-tech devices. China currently dominates the supply side of the equation. What an opportunity for Alaska! We have large areas that either host known deposits of rare earth elements or are highly prospective for these increasingly important ingredients to modern devises.
April Was The 31st Consecutive Month Alaska Has Lost Jobs
KSRM, Jennifer Williams, May 18, 2018
The State Labor Department released the preliminary estimates showing April employment was down by 1,200, or 0.4 percent compared to April 2017. April was the 31st consecutive month Alaska has lost jobs, making this a longer downturn than in the 1980s, when a deep state recession led to 25 straight months of job loss. The construction sector held steady in April, with no further job losses. Oil and Gas lost another 500 jobs, while the retail sector loss 600 jobs with the closure of some major national chains.
Our Take: Alaska should focus on creating a bigger pie for everyone – not fretting over who gets the few good jobs we have. As highlighted in the Forbes LNG article and the Critical Minerals list – the opportunity for Alaska is great – if we make good decisions and create a stable investment climate for companies.
From Today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
FERC WON’T CONSIDER CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS IN PIPELINE REVIEWS
A divided Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Friday it won’t make broad evaluations about the impact of climate change when it decides whether to approve interstate pipelines. Limited by law: FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre and fellow Republicans Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee wrote in the majority opinion that the National Environmental Policy Act does not require the commission to consider the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emission impact in pipeline reviews.