New leader, new plan for ANWR?; Donlin invests locally

Ex-energy lobbyist tapped to oversee fish, wildlife and parks
Michael Doyle, E&E News, May 3, 2019

The White House today announced an intention to nominate Wyoming resident, former energy company lobbyist and Capitol Hill veteran Robert Wallace to a key position overseeing the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.

“Without question, Rob is the right person for this job,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “Throughout his long and distinguished career, Rob has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to striking the proper balance between wildlife conservation, habitat management and use of our public land.”

Our take: We wonder if Wallace will stand by the Department’s stance of selection of the most conservative option for the ANWR DEIS.

Russia approves €1 billion LNG transshipment terminal on Kola coast
Atle Staalesen, ArcticToday, May 1, 2019

The Russian federal government intends to spend 70 billion rubles (€965 million) on the construction of a new major Arctic terminal for storage and reloading of LNG. The project investment plan was this week approved by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. It is to stand ready for operations in year 2023.

The government document does not specifically say where in the Kola Peninsula the new terminal is to be built. However, Novatek has earlier made clear that it wants it to be located in Ura Guba, the fjord that houses one of the Northern Fleet’s most important naval bases.

Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran’s nuclear power complex
John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, May 4, 2019

 The tightening on sanctions on Iran’s nuclear power complex is meant to curb its ability to refine uranium and mitigate its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Pompeo said Iran would not be able to return to the negotiating table until it ceases all activities related to, or associated with, the construction of a nuclear weapon.

Donlin Gold Looks To Schools, Workforce Development For Future Employees
KYUK, Krysti Shallenberger, May 3, 2019

Donlin is preparing to hire more than 100 people for the final drilling program for its dam safety certification. Those jobs will only last a year, but Donlin also is playing the long game. They help fund scholarships from Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim Corporation, which own the surface and mineral rights. Donlin also gives money to the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program or ANSEP.

Our take: Wonderful to hear about companies investing in young Alaskans and helping them build skills. Nothing says “Alaska is open for business” more than training youth for jobs that will keep them in our state and engaged in our economy. We heard about similar community investment policies from Northern Star Resources at our Fairbanks luncheon last week.

From the Daily on Energy:

TRUMP SILENT AS TAINTED RUSSIAN OIL SURGES ACROSS EUROPE: The Trump administration offered little or no response to an oil crisis wreaking havoc across Europe, one that Russia’s state-run oil company admitted was intentionally caused by one of its subsidiaries.

Transneft said last week that one of its local companies contaminated millions of barrels of oil flowing into several European countries from Russia, forcing Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Slovakia and other countries to halt imports.

The oil was contaminated with organic elements that would damage refineries in the recipient countries, according to Reuters.

An opportunity for U.S., ignored by the Trump administration: Trump donor and Canary CEO Dan Eberhardt tells John the oil crisis is “a wake-up call” for Europe that it cannot depend on Russian energy supplies, and an opportunity that the U.S. should seize upon.

The Trump administration believes dependence on Russian natural gas makes Europe strategically vulnerable. President Trump wants Europe to diversify its supply by importing more U.S. natural gas.

Eberhardt’s company is one of the largest manufacturers of well components for oil drillers in the United States.

“It could take months to clean up the Druzhba pipeline and dilute all the contaminated oil,” Eberhardt predicts. “In the meantime, refiners in Central and Eastern Europe are going to need to find alternative supplies.”

He says Transneft is a state-owned monopoly, so it will be difficult for Russia to escape the blame for the tainted supply. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last week that the tainted supply woes will cost Russia’s reputation as a dependable supplier.

“EU leaders may not care much for President Trump, but they have to admit that the US is a much better trading partner than Russia — especially when it comes to something as critical to security as oil and gas supplies,” Eberhardt said.