From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
COULD SAUDI TENSIONS MEAN OUT-OF-CONTROL OIL PRICES FOR US? Oil prices could spike even higher than they already have this week as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran increased Friday, prompting analysts to brace for havoc in the oil markets. A growing number of analysts, including some who support President Trump, are predicting higher oil prices in the coming year. The international benchmark for oil prices rose to its highest level in months this week after a Saudi-led purge of its own government officials and major businessmen drove speculation of supply problems from the country with the largest oil reserves in the world. Trouble in Lebanon, with its prime minister resigning suddenly and seeking refuge in the oil kingdom, increased uncertainty in the region because of Lebanon’s role as a safe haven for Iranian-backed Hezbollah. And the Saudis blamed Iran for a missile fired from Yemen to Saudi Arabia. That led to saber rattling between Saudi and Iran on Friday, and speculation began to increase about the possibility of war and what that could mean for oil prices if Saudi crude were suddenly cut off completely. “One out of nine barrels in the world is produced out of Saudi Arabia, so whatever happens in Saudi Arabia is really a revolution or turmoil for the world of oil,” Paolo Scaroni, former CEO of Italian oil giant Eni and vice-chairman of NM Rothschild and Sons, told Bloomberg Television Friday. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is engaged in a protracted plan to push up oil prices in response to the over-supplied market that forced prices to plummet and slashed the budgets of many OPEC countries. Saudi Arabia is leading OPEC and non-OPEC countries in a push to curtail production so that prices rise. “Stripping away the nonsense in Saudi, I think supply and demand are legitimately crossing and we’re headed for higher prices,” said oil executive and Trump supporter Dan Eberhart in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “I think the Saudi purge has thrown a bucket of gas on top of an already raging fire. I think the price is going to move upward.”
Locals at the table for Pebble Project. Next month, the Pebble Partnership plans to file for permits to build a gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay region. The company says it’s a much smaller one than originally planned, one they think should be more acceptable to the communities in the area. In May, the company formed an Advisory Committee to get feedback on a variety of issues. One of its founding members was one of its loudest critics. However, Kimberly Williams resigned after just a few weeks, after she says she lost her job at Nunamta Aulukestai, an association of village corporations and tribal councils, and under pressure from the Bristol Bay Native Association, where she is a board member. Her replacement is AlexAnna Salmon from Igiugig, a small community just 50 miles from the proposed mine. Igiugig sits at the mouth of Lake Iliamna and the Kvichak River, a very isolated place. AlexAnna considers it her job to protect that “unglu,” or nest in Yup’ik. That’s why she says it was important for her to join the Advisory Committee, especially after she found out there was only one other person on the board from the Bristol Bay area. “Immediately my first thought was we really need locals at the table for this project,” Salmon says. Salmon says she’s simply there to learn, and claims the company doesn’t care what she thinks. “Their science is shaped in a way that they will prove that development and salmon can co-exist,” Salmon says.
Majority vote for ANWR. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) unveiled legislation Wednesday that would, for the first time, open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and natural gas drilling. The legislation would require only a 51-vote majority in the Senate, instead of the usual 60 votes, because it is written under the auspices of Congress’s 2018 budget resolution The proposal opens a significant new step in the decades-old debate around ANWR drilling, which has energized and mobilized generations of environmentalists while serving as a perennially tempting development opportunity for the oil industry and Alaskans. Murkowski estimates that the drilling on the federally owned land would bring the government at least $1 billion over the next 10 years, thus fulfilling the budget’s requirement for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Murkowski chairs. “Our instruction is a tremendous opportunity both for our committee and our country,” said Murkowski, who has introduced some form of ANWR drilling legislation in each session of Congress since becoming a senator in 2002.
Never cry wolf. You have to forgive Alaskans if the deal announced yesterday between the state and three Chinese firms to advance efforts to get North Slope gas out of the ground feels like just another pipe dream. Countless projects past, touted as a sure thing at one press conference or another, have all fallen apart. So, is the new deal championed by Gov. Bill Walker and the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. actually going to end with the long-awaited economic boom? The short answer: maybe.
Maria Cantwell’s rendition of “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” In the U.S. Senate, opponents of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are having trouble getting the word out. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., on Thursday lamented that the refuge drilling proposal isn’t drawing public outrage like it did more than a decade ago. “Listen, I know it’s a busy news cycle we live in,” Cantwell said at a press conference she called at the Capitol. “But last time this issue captured the public’s attention, and it’s been out of the public’s attention for a long time.” Asked what her strategy is, Cantwell said she hoped the reporters present would write a lot, to let people know Arctic refuge drilling could be tucked into the tax cut plan, a proposal that is grabbing bigger headlines. “We really sincerely hope that we can illuminate for the American people that this choice is being made,” Cantwell said.
Juneau Assembly looking to add public to mining committee. Applications are coming in from members of the public looking to be on the Assembly Mining Committee, and the current members of the committee met Wednesday to better examine candidates. The Mining Committee currently consists of Assembly members Norton Gregory (the chair of the committee), Maria Gladziszewski and Beth Weldon. The committee will add two members of the Planning Commission and two members of the general public. The formation of the committee sprang from a proposal this April to reexamine the current mining ordinance. A group of businessmen suggested that Juneau’s ordinance is unnecessarily duplicative of state and national standards, which is discouraging companies from pursuing mining in the borough.
New Pebble advisory board member joins to ‘protect the nest’
KTVA, Emily Carlson, November 9, 2017
Alaska senator proposes drilling in Arctic refuge
The Hill, Timothy Cama, November 8, 2017
Alaska’s Gas line deal with China explained
KTUU, Austin Baird, November 9, 2017
Arctic drilling foes find public passion has cooled
Alaska Public Media, Liz Ruskin, November 10, 2017
Mining Committee examines applications, possible roles of public members
Juneau Empire, Alex McCarthy, November 10, 2017