Hump Day Hypocrisy from Anti-Pebble Presenters;  Exploration mojo is back! 

What about the bears?
Brian Mazurek, Peninsula Clarion, May 15, 2019

While much of the discussion over the proposed Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay has focused on its impact to the area’s fishing industry, the project’s potential impact to another species was up for debate at yesterday’s Joint Kenai/Soldotna Chamber Luncheon.  During a presentation, Sam Snyder with the Wild Salmon Center and Drew Hamilton with Friends of McNeil River shifted the focus to how the mine would affect brown bears.

Our Take:  This reporter must have left before the question and answer period where Sam and Drew flopped.  Sam started out his presentation by telling folks he had a PhD in fisheries management.  When one of the attendees pointed out that his educational credentials had more to do with religion than fish, he got flustered and angry – telling the crowd that he wrote his senior thesis on fisheries and that attacking the messenger wasn’t cool. (After he had just spent 15 minutes attacking the Army Corp of Engineers and the people who work for the Pebble Project.)  Drew talked about the dramatic increase in tourists participating in bear-viewing (from 400 to 4000 in just a few years) and the need to protect his business.  When participants pointed out that lots of pilots and lodge owners were complaining about the increase in bear watching activity and the negative impacts and the safety issues he replied  “yep – and we are trying to get that under control because we don’t want the government to regulate us.”  (After he had just talked about all the government regulation he wanted for a future  “could happen”  scenario.)  Hump-day hypocrisy was alive and well with the anti-Pebble folks yesterday! 

Exploration Gets Its Mojo Back
Andreas Exarheas, Rigzone, May 14, 2019

The exploration sector has got its mojo back, according to energy research and consultancy company Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac).  WoodMac, which recently completed its 11th annual exploration survey, said the study showed continued optimism and increased favour for high or big impact wells. Capital efficiency was given less importance in this year’s survey by respondents, as were returns on investment.  About 36 percent of those surveyed said they would be investing more on exploration this year, while only 13 percent had reduced their budgets from last year. Thirty-eight percent said they planned to drill more wells in 2019 while just ten percent of respondents expect their well count to be lower than in 2018.  Lower exploration costs, lower development costs and reduced cycle times were seen as the top three factors in returning exploration to a “value creation business”, according to the survey. Less project complexity, a rising oil price and technology were some of the other reasons listed.

Resource potential expands at Alaska graphite prospect
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, May 15, 2019

The potential of a unique Western Alaska mineral deposit keeps growing as its developers inch closer to making it a mine.

Stan Foo, chief operating officer of Graphite One Inc., told a gathering of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance on May 9 in Anchorage that infill drilling done last year at the company’s Graphite Creek prospect on the Seward Peninsula helped significantly increase the resource estimates for the deposit.

“We’re very excited about the improvements we made. We increased the resource by about 14 percent last year,” Foo said.  Located on the northern face of the Kigluaik Mountains about 40 miles north of Nome, the Graphite Creek deposit holds measured and indicated resources estimated at nearly 11 million metric tons of ore at an average grade of about 8 percent graphite.

From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

MANCHIN, MURKOWSKI URGE FOR CONGRESS TO ‘PUT MONEY WHERE MOUTHS ARE’ ON CARBON CAPTURE:  Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., called on Congress Thursday to support their legislation authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand research and development of carbon capture technologies.

Carbon capture has emerged as a response to climate change that has bipartisan support.

“But we have got to put our money where our mouths are and enact strong, supportive legislation,” said Manchin, at an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. “There should be no downside to supporting and accelerating [carbon capture] deployment on a large scale no matter where you are coming from on the political spectrum.”

Manchin, the committee’s top Democrat, and Murkowski, the chairwoman, focused the hearing on their bill introduced last month, the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act of 2019.

What the bill would do: The legislation would create four new Energy Department carbon capture research and development programs.

One program would focus on lowering costs and improving efficiency and effectiveness of carbon capture and storage on coal and natural gas plants. Another would boost efforts to commercialize the captured carbon for other uses. A third program would center on improving carbon capture for alternative uses, such as for industrial plants.

And the bill also creates a carbon removal program to aid “direct air capture” technologies being developed to remove carbon directly from the atmosphere.

“We need to think of all the ways we can skin this cat,” Manchin said. “Removing CO2 from the ambient air is one of those things. This is the moonshot and we need to get behind it right now.”