Headlamp – Zip, nada, none. Seaton gets no support from Alaskans for his money grab.

Dear Rep. Seaton,

Please listen to the consultant you hired to advise you. Rich Ruggiero of In3nergy, a consultant to the Legislature, said in an April 11 hearing on the bill that lawmakers should focus on what is necessary to bring on new North Slope developments. He recommended lowering the base tax, 10 percent is the number cited in his slide presentation, and making the highs higher. He told legislators that because costs rise with sustained price increases, windfall taxes will only occur with short duration price spikes. With sustained price increases, costs rise, lowering the production tax value, which includes costs the companies incur in producing the oil.

And to Alaskan’s who testified: “Please do your part to grow the economic pie and keep Alaskans living and working right here in our State. Help businesses to be successful so that we can reciprocate and do our own part to grow Alaska”.

Headlamp would like to point out, many Alaskans spent their time testifying last night…not one of them was in support of HB 411.

Let’s turn this EPA ship around. The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Andrew Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist, to be deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Senators voted 53-45 to make Wheeler the No. 2 official at EPA, just below Administrator Scott Pruitt. All of the Republicans present voted for Wheeler, along with Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.). Each of the Democrats is running for reelection this year in heavily Republican states. The vote came amid a wave of controversies involving Pruitt, who is facing calls for his resignation or firing. Democrats argued that Wheeler could become Pruitt’s successor if the administrator is dismissed, and that he has not been properly vetted for that scenario. “We should know whether Andrew Wheeler is up to the task of helping to right this badly damaged EPA ship, to restore the confidence and have it headed back on the right course,” Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said on the Senate floor before the Wheeler vote.

An attack on oil is an attack on the US economy. Oil companies fell behind in hardening their computer control systems against cyberattacks after the collapse of crude prices more than three years ago, putting security initiatives on hold while state-sponsored hacking groups became more proficient at probing U.S. energy networks, according to cybersecurity experts. Oil and gas cybersecurity teams faced funding shortfalls for projects to protect networks that run pipelines, drilling rigs and other oil field operations, as energy companies slashed thousands of jobs and cut production, security professionals said in recent interviews and conferences. Meanwhile, the worst of the downturn in early 2016 and some of the deepest cuts to jobs and spending coincided with an intensifying campaign of online attacks on energy networks by hackers backed by the Russian government, according to a recent report by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. The hackers almost certainly penetrated the networks, according to government and private cybersecurity specialists, likely with the aim of testing detection capabilities and responses and preparing for a day when they could launch an attack aimed at shutting down operations or damaging facilities. Attacks that interrupted the flow of power or crude oil or gasoline could disrupt, if not derail the U.S. economy.

Pebble: “complete public access and transparency.” Another environmental assessment of the proposed Pebble Mine is underway. This time, the lead agency is the Army Corps of Engineers, and in a call with reporters yesterday, the agency addressed criticism it’s already receiving as it weighs whether to give the controversial mine a permit. Sheila Newman, regulatory division deputy chief with the Army Corps’ Alaska District, said the agency recognizes that Pebble is not an average project proposal — it has a long history in Alaska, so the agency is trying to make adjustments for that. For example, it gave the public a longer-than-usual period to read the permit application before the first comment period. “We went for complete public access and transparency as soon as we possibly could for this project by making the application publicly available, I think it was 15 days after we received it. So that was a first,” Newman said. The Army Corps recently extended the first period for the public to weigh in on the proposed mine — called the scoping period — by two months, after Native Corporations and top officials like Lisa Murkowski said 30 days wasn’t long enough.

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

OPEC NEARS ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’ ON OIL PRODUCTION CUTS: OPEC is nearing “mission accomplished” on its efforts to prop up oil prices by cutting supply, the International Energy Agency said Friday. “It is not for us to declare on behalf of the Vienna agreement countries that it is ‘mission accomplished’, but if our outlook is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it,” the IEA said in its monthly oil markets report.

Beating expectations: Less than 10 percent of the global surplus in oil supply remains, the IEA said, as OPEC and its non-member partners, such as Russia, have reduced production more than expected as oil demand has increased.

OPEC, beginning in January 2017, reached an agreement to reduce output by about 1.2 million barrels a day. But the group’s 14 members actually produced 60 percent less oil than that target amount in March.

Is it sustainable?: Crude oil prices have recovered to $70 per barrel from below $30 in 2016, but energy experts have speculated the historic surge in U.S. output could limit the price surge.

 

First Reads:

New tax bill introduced
Petroleum News, Kristen Nelson, April 13, 2018

Senate approves Trump’s pick for No. 2 at EPA
The Hill, Timothy Cama, April 12, 2018

Oil and gas cybersecurity projects went “to the bottom of the pile” in energy slump
Chron, Collin Eaton, April 12, 2018

Army Corps addresses criticism of environmental review process for Pebble
Alaska Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, April 12, 2018