Headlamp – Outlook 2019:  Alaska oil good, Alaska LNG – broken engagement?  Caribou-boo

Outlook 2019: Upstream oil exploration, development set to surge in Alaska
S & P Global Platts, December 28, 2018

Alaska’s upstream oil industry is expecting to see a surge in exploration and development in 2019 as companies drill to delineate new North Slope and National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska discoveries.  But some are concerned that high-profile federal initiatives, like exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the opening of prospective parts of NPR-A, could get bogged down by increased opposition as Democrats gain a majority in the US House of Representatives, slowing production growth down the road.  Alaska oil production is expected to increase in 2019 and 2020 thanks to new North Slope oil discoveries being brought online.

State gasline corporation to miss key deadline with Chinese partners
Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk, December 31, 2018

The state’s gasline corporation was supposed to have a deal with three Chinese partners, a buyer, an equity partner and a lender by Dec. 31.  But this is a deadline the Alaska LNG project is likely to miss.  In late 2017,  Alaska Gasline Development Corporation head Keith Meyer and then-Gov. Bill Walker flew to Beijing and inked a deal with three entities in China to explore options for financing, building and buying gas from the Alaska LNG project.  At the time, Meyer told a group of reporters that they had been trying to woo the Chinese companies for months.  “So we’ve been through the courtship. We are now engaged,” Meyer said.  The “engaged” phase was supposed to last about a year, and the parties would come to a decision by Dec. 31, 2018 on whether to get hitched.  Now, the state corporation wants a six-month extension on that original agreement.

Related:

Early 2019 will see flurry of LNG activity

OPEC-led cuts should rebalance oil market in first quarter: UAE energy minister
S & P Global Platts, January 2, 2019

The OPEC-led deal to cut 1.2 million b/d from the start of January should bring balance back to the oil market in the first quarter of 2019, the UAE’s energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said Tuesday.  “As we start a new year, I remain optimistic toward achieving the market balance during the first quarter after [the] OPEC and Non-OPEC production cut.  At this time last year we remember the same pessimistic views which we disagreed with and as we expected 2018 was a good year,” he said in a tweet Tuesday.  The minister said last month that OPEC and non-OPEC producers would consider “deeper cuts” if the reduction wasn’t enough to restore balance.

Caribou-boo
Craig Medred, December 28, 2018

Why is it that reporters with a good story to tell sometimes can’t seem to avoid the pit of embellishment that makes journalism look so bad?  Here’s Hillary Rosner writing in The Atlantic about the plight of the woodland caribou, a subspecies on the verge of extinction in the lower 48 and a cousin of Alaska’s barren ground caribou:  “Though that news barely registered with the American public, it was powerful: the imminent disappearance of a large mammal species from the Lower 48. And the Selkirk caribou are only the tip of the melting iceberg. Across a broad swath of Canada and Alaska, caribou populations have been plummeting for decades. The main cause: industrial development in their habitat.”

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

ZINKE’S DEPUTY IS THE FAVORITE TO REPLACE HIM, BUT NO DECISION YET: Trump’s search to replace departing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not conclude last month as it was expected to and could stretch well into the new year.

Trump had promised on Dec. 15 to name Zinke’s replacement the following week, but the president has been preoccupied with the government shutdown fight, the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and the fallout from his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

The favorite is familiar: David Bernhardt, the Interior Department deputy who is expected to be named acting secretary as soon as Zinke leaves office today, is still viewed as Trump’s safest bet to run the agency on a permanent basis, according to allies of his and sources close to the White House.

But Bernhardt has competition for the job:  At least two more candidates, Cynthia Lummis, a former congresswoman from Wyoming, and Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M. are expected to receive interviews for the job, sources tell Josh.

Pearce is leaving Congress after failing in a bid for governor of New Mexico, where he lost in November to Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, and is actively pursuing the role, a congressional staffer familiar with the process told Josh.

Others like Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif. and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., both of whom recently lost re-election, are interested in the job, but it’s unclear whether they are serious contenders.