Hump day hope for oil; Murkowski welcomes Manchin while ENGO’s fear him.

Oil Majors Cautious but Upbeat About 2019
Irina Slav, OilPrice.Com, December 11, 2018

After Chevron last week said it will increase its capex for 2019 for the first time in four years, this week two more oil majors joined the ranks of optimists in the oil industry: although they are not raising their budgets in any significant way. Hess Corp. and ConocoPhillips both expect to perform better next year. Conoco issued a statement presenting its spending plans on Monday, saying it would allocate US$6.1 billion for capital expenditures, expecting production of between 1.3 and 1.35 million bpd, excluding Libya, versus 1.356 million bpd in 2017, also excluding Libya. However, the 2015 figure would be higher than the latest quarterly production figure available from Conoco: the company said in its third-quarter report it produced 1.224 million bpd of crude.

Will China Turn Its Back on U.S. LNG?
Vanand Meliksetian, OIlPrice.Com, December 11, 2018

There was a sigh of relief from global markets when the leaders of China and the U.S. met on the side-lines of the G20 summit to agree upon a temporary truce in their trade war. However, despite the good news, the existing 10 percent tariff on U.S. LNG has remained unchanged. According to White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, China had agreed to immediately start importing more U.S. agricultural, energy, industry, and other products. The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada, however, is set to be the first test of this new truce.

Our Take:   We hope not. China is the single biggest oil and natural gas consumer on the planet.

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

JOE MANCHIN ELEVATED TO TOP DEMOCRAT ON ENERGY COMMITTEE DESPITE GREEN CRITICS: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a vocal supporter of the coal industry, was officially tapped Tuesday to be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Manchin’s rise to ranking member status Tuesday afternoon, a move that environmental groups had dreaded.

Environmental groups had urged Schumer to block Manchin from leading Democrats on the committee, which has oversight of key energy programs that relate to climate change.

But Schumer feared setting bad precedent about Democratic seniority rules.

Manchin promises neutral approach: In a statement, Manchin vowed Tuesday to work with senators of both parties on an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy. He did not mention climate change. Manchin last week dismissed environmental groups critical of his green credentials, telling reporters, “I don’t think they’re senators.”

How he came to power: The spot opened for Manchin because the current energy committee ranking member, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is switching to be the top minority senator on the Commerce Committee, a transition that Schumer also made official Tuesday.

Other liberals with seniority over Manchin on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee have said they are not interested in taking over, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the former presidential candidate and proponent of action to combat climate change, who is keeping his ranking member role on the Budget Committee.

GOP welcomes him: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the committee chairwoman, said Wednesday she looks forward to working with Manchin.

“I’m excited to work with him in his new capacity as we continue our committee’s tradition of advancing good, timely, bipartisan legislation for our nation,” Murkowski said.