Headlamp – Saudi Arabia, India and the Arctic.

Pick your number. Saudi Arabia wants to get oil prices near $80 a barrel to pay for the government’s crowded policy agenda and support the valuation of state energy giant Aramco before an initial public offering. In conversations with OPEC delegates and oil market participants, Saudi officials had been careful to avoid pinpointing an exact price target. Yet people who have spoken to them said the inescapable conclusion from the conversations was that Riyadh is aiming for $80. The private discussions, relayed by several people who met the Saudis over the last month and asked not to be named to protect their relationship with the kingdom, chimes with the hawkish tone in public from Saudi officials. Oil extended gains. London’s benchmark Brent crude futures rose as much as 2.3 percent to $70.21 a barrel. In an interview with Time magazine last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the first public statement linking his expectation of higher oil prices with the timing of the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco. “We believe oil prices will get higher in this year and also get higher in 2019, so we are trying to pick the right time,” he told the magazine in reference to the IPO. Riyadh, which initially targeted the second half of 2018 for the listing, is now aiming for next year.

Temperatures are rising in the Arctic. In both the literal and geopolitical senses. As global warming melts sea ice across the far north, the region is becoming a development hot spot, with major powers like Russia and China seeking control of resources and transport routes. This creates a potential security flashpoint, too. In March, a large ship carrying liquefied natural gas left Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, which juts out from northwestern Siberia and contains some of the world’s biggest gas reserves. The vessel was carrying the first India-bound shipment of LNG from the peninsula through Arctic waters via the Bering Strait. Russian energy giant Novatek is producing LNG in Yamal. “The first cargo delivered to the growing Indian market is an important development step,” Lev Feodosyev, Novatek’s first deputy chairman, said of the shipment. Climate change made it possible. Arctic sea ice has been steadily shrinking due to our planet’s rising average temperatures. The maximum ice coverage hit the lowest level on record in 2017. By as early as 2030, the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of ice in the summer, according to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, a working group under the intergovernmental Arctic Council.

If you wait until the last minute…it only takes a minute. Alaska’s Legislature could finish the legislative session within a few days of its scheduled 90-day length. But it’s not clear which bills lawmakers will pass in the remaining days, other than those related to the budget. Senate President Pete Kelly said Senate leaders are optimistic about ending the session shortly after Sunday, the last day under the schedule set by state law. Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, said there’s been less disagreement between the two chambers this year. “Last year, it was a full-on war between the House and the Senate,” Kelly said Monday. By comparison, Kelly describes “high-level cooperation” this year on the budget. Still, only six bills have passed both chambers. That number is much lower than the current record for the fewest bills passed in the state’s history – 32, set last year. The Senate passed the sixth bill today – House Bill 168, a measure that repealed the Administrative Regulation Review Committee, which hasn’t done anything in 15 years. Kelly said the slow pace is the result of differences between the Senate and House. “It’s just going to be the natural outcome of having two bodies that are philosophically different,” Kelly said. “And we haven’t had that for a long time.” Eagle River Republican Sen. Anna MacKinnon said there will be opportunities to pass several more bills before the session ends. “There are many things we agree on and you’ll see those coming to fruition in the last seven days,” MacKinnon said.

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

PERRY TRAVELS TO INDIA FOR HIGH-LEVEL ENERGY TALKS: Rick Perry will travel to India next week to discuss the future of the U.S. energy relationship with high-level officials on the subcontinent.

LNG arrives in India: The meeting comes as the first shipments of U.S.-produced liquefied natural gas begin to arrive in India this month, an administration official pointed out to the Washington Examiner.

Lots of meetings: Perry will be having “multiple bilateral meetings” during the trip, Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said.

 

First Reads:

Are Saudis pushing OPEC for $80 a barrel oil?
Chron, Javier Blas, April 10, 2018

China and Russia go to ends of the earth for Arctic control
Asian Review, Nikkei, April 10, 2018

Slow-paced session could end with a sprint
Alaska Public Media, Andrew Kitchenman, April 9, 2018