There is an office of continuous improvement…in the government.

APNewsBreak: Alaska sued over Walker’s bonding proposal
AP News, Becky Bohrer, May 15, 2018

An Alaska resident sued the state Monday over Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to allow for the issuance of bonds to pay off the state’s outstanding oil tax credit obligations. The lawsuit was filed in state court on behalf of Alaska resident Eric Forrer, a former member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents. The action comes just days after the bill passed the Legislature; Walker has yet to sign it into law.

Our Take: We can’t say we’re surprised. Senator Wielechowski made passionate speeches about the issue – even though he had previously voted multiple times for bills that authorized bonds whose debt is serviced solely by independent and annual legislative appropriations.

Republican senator demands EPA scale back refinery biofuel waivers
Reuters, Jarrett Renshaw, May 15, 2018

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley on Tuesday said Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt must scale back the use of biofuels waivers for small refineries, or else he will join other lawmakers calling for Pruitt’s resignation. Corn state senators like Iowa’s Grassley have been infuriated by the EPA’s decision to provide an unusually large number of waivers to refineries in recent months, exempting them from a law that requires biofuels like ethanol be mixed into the nation’s fuel.

Our Take: Who will win the battle in DC – corn vs oil? “The corn lobby supports expanding sales of E15 and reducing the waiver program, but opposes counting exports toward volume quotas. The oil industry, meanwhile, is resisting the expansion of E15 – because it worries the move will cut petroleum’s share of the fuel market – and supports both the waivers and the export tweak as ways of cutting regulatory costs.”

The Oil And Gas Situation: Four Big Factors Influence U.S. Oil Markets
Forbes, David Blackmon, May 14, 2018

Here are four big factors influencing the domestic oil and gas industry as the week begins:
The rig count continues to escalate steadily. The DrillingInfo daily rig count sits at 1105 as of May 13, up 25 from two weeks before. This is not surprising at all – crude oil prices remain strong, making an increasing population of potential drilling projects economic to drill. More than 80% of those rigs are drilling oil wells, and over half of them are doing it within the state of Texas. Again, no surprise, given that the preponderance of the vast Permian Basin lies within the state.

Our Take: The rest of the story? The oil price didn’t rocket up after President Trump’s Iran announcement. A widening Permian price differential could send capital to other U.S. basins during the second half of the year. The growing U.S. refinery/production mis-match means America’s crude exports will keep rising.

From today’s Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:

The EPA announced Monday it will create a new efficiency office to speed permitting reviews and shorten the time it takes for the agency to complete other functions, such as meeting legal deadlines. The Office of Continuous Improvement aims to eliminate waste and resources, Pruitt said during an event at EPA headquarters. “Through lean management, EPA is tracking, measuring, and improving vital agency processes, such as permitting and meeting legal deadlines on time, for the first time,” Pruitt said. “Establishing the Office of Continuous Improvement will ensure that these actions are implemented throughout the agency and produce lasting results for years to come.”

Our Take: They had us at “office of continuous improvement.”