Russia, China delay U.S. push for halt to refined petroleum to North Korea
Reuters, Michelle Nichols, July 19, 2018
Russia and China delayed on Thursday a U.S. push for a U.N. Security Council committee to order a halt to refined petroleum exports to North Korea, asking for more detail on a U.S. accusation that Pyongyang has breached a cap, diplomats said. Russia’s mission to the United Nations told the 15-member committee it is “closely examining this request and is seeking additional information on every single case of ‘illegal’ transfer of petroleum,” diplomats said. China backed the request for information.
Our Take: Russia, China and North Korea – the Three Musketeers? When they say, “all for one and one for all,” the world should pay attention.
Saudi Arabia Says It Won’t Oversupply the Global Oil Market
Bloomberg, Grant Smith, July 19, 2018
Saudi Arabia rejected concerns that it’s planning to oversupply global oil markets and said it will trim crude exports next month. Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool rallying prices, the kingdom bolstered production by the most in three years last month, pumping almost 10.5 million barrels a day. Yet it signaled on Thursday that it won’t go any further for now, saying exports this month will be “roughly equal” to June, and will drop by 100,000 barrels a day in August.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
HOUSE APPROVES GOP LEADERSHIP MEASURE CONDEMNING CARBON TAX: The House easily approved a non-binding, GOP-leadership backed resolution Thursday opposing any carbon taxes as harmful to the economy.
“A carbon tax would be devastating to the manufacturing base, kill jobs, and raise costs for families all across this country,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who sponsored the resolution, said on the House floor before the vote. “The resolution is simple. It’s a sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and business.”
The Republican-led House has already passed similar symbolic gestures in previous sessions of Congress, and its unlikely lawmakers would approve a carbon tax anytime soon.
Full Committee Hearing on Administration Reorganization and Modernization Proposals for DOE and DOI
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, July 19, 2018
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing to examine the administration’s efforts to reorganize and modernize the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Interior (DOI). “It’s our responsibility to look at the structures of government and determine whether they are as efficient and effective as we expect,” Murkowski said. “Putting ideas on the table for improvements is a good thing – something we should encourage. And from there, it’s on all of us to consider those ideas, help refine them, and then move forward on those that best serve the American people. I appreciate Alaska being a pilot for many of these ideas and look forward to continuing to work with the agencies as these efforts move forward.”
Usibelli Coal Mine celebrates 75 years in Healy
Alaska Public Media, Dan Bross, July 17, 2018
Usibelli Coal Mine is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The operation in Healy started by Emil Usibelli in 1943, run by his son and now by his grandson, is Alaska’s only operating coal mine. Joe Usibelli has run the company for the last three decades and shared the story of the family coal mine in a recent presentation to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. Usibelli says his family came to the US over a century ago to seek a better life, just like today’s immigrants. ”My great-grandfather came over in 1907, my grandfather came over in 1909,” Usibelli said. “They came over from Italy, and there’s parallels in the world right now.”
AGDC will stick with Nikiski as prefered choice for LNG Project
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Tim Bradner, July 17, 2018
Alaska LNG has cited all its reasons why Port MacKenzie won’t work as a site for a large liquefied natural gas plant. In a filing with the U.S. Energy Regulatory Commission, the state gas corporation, Alaska Gasline Development Corp., said issues with navigation, tides, beluga whales and other problems make the MatSu port on Knik Arm an unworkable choice for a marine loading terminal for the large LNG plant that is planned.
Our Take: How many times will AGDC be asked to defend its choice of Nikiski as the site for their LNG plant? AKHEADLAMP hopes this is the end of the discussion.
Alaska megaproject hits financial headwinds as elections loom
E&E News, Margaret Kriz Hobson, July 18, 2018
The blueprint to finance and build a $44 billion natural gas export project is coming under fire at a time when people here are gearing up for a governor’s race that could again throw the future of the Alaska liquefied natural gas project into question.
Our Take: We agree. This is shaping up to be a key issue in the gubernatorial race. Does the state allow market dynamics to guide the project or does the state force a project? As Senator Giessel noted, most legislators are supportive of the project, “but not at any cost.”
Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world’s No. 3 oil powerhouse
CNN Money, Matt Egan, July 17, 2018
Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report. If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.
Our Take: Texas’ activity led to an additional $2 billion + for the Texas State Legislature.
America’s Oil And Gas Boom Is Spreading Through The Country
Forbes, David Blackmon, July 17, 2018
The Permian Basin, home to more than 40 percent of all active U.S. drilling rigs, continues to receive most of the credit for the rapid growth of U.S. oil production; meanwhile, the Marcellus Shale receives the lion’s share of credit for ongoing record-setting levels of domestic natural gas production. But a series of recent information releases demonstrate that the oil and gas boom is spreading into other plays across the nation.
Our Take: ConocoPhillips recent announcement about increased activity gives AKHEADLAMP hope that the oil and gas boom doesn’t bypass Alaska. Reduction in operating costs AND a stable fiscal climate contributed to their decisions. Elections matter – AKHEADLAMP hopes Alaskans will elect leaders who appreciate their largest business partners and will maintain a business climate that attracts more investment.
Parnell backs Dunleavy over Treadwell for governor
KTVA, Steve Quinn, July 17, 2018
Former Alaska governor Sean Parnell has endorsed Mike Dunleavy over Mead Treadwell, who served as Parnell’s lieutenant governor during his first full term. Dunleavy announced the surprise show of support on his campaign Facebook page Tuesday evening. Dunleavy spokesman Brett Huber declined to comment further on the endorsement beyond referring to the page, on which Dunleavy said, “I’m honored to have Sean Parnell’s support.”
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
TRUMP APPOINTEES ADDRESS CONFERENCE OF CLIMATE SKEPTICS: The Trump administration is appearing in force at this year’s annual conference of the Heartland Institute, a group known for its questioning of climate science.
The group released the list of keynote speakers in an agenda Tuesday night for the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference.
Interior Department: Joe Balash, the Interior Department assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management, is set to deliver the closing keynote speech on August 7 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel.
Energy Department: Another keynote speech will be given by Douglas Matheney, special advisor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Matheney advises on fossil fuels policy.
The agenda: The conference will examine President Trump’s energy agenda, “which is focused on making the United States a global energy power,” according to the group’s agenda. “The conference will examine what has changed, how that has affected America’s economy, and what’s next.”
Our Take: Great to see Alaska’s own Joe Balash as the keynote at this conference!
ConocoPhillips Continues To Expand Alaska North Slope Oil Wealth Resource
Northern Gas Pipelines, Dave Harbour, July 17, 2018
Late yesterday, ConocoPhillips provided an update on its operating plan for Alaska, focusing on the company’s long history of creating value in the state and an ongoing commitment to invest in low cost of supply opportunities. Over the past few years, the company’s Alaska business has undergone a significant transformation, driven by a more competitive fiscal framework, cost reductions, technological advancements and an exploration renaissance.
Our Take: Great news for Alaska! Conoco is a leader in responsible resource development and this investment will provide jobs for Alaskans, help spur the economy, and put oil into the pipeline.
U.S. hits $1.1 billion Texas oil pipeline with steel tariff
Reuters, Liz Hampton, July 16, 2018
A $1.1 billion U.S. shale pipeline on Monday was denied an exclusion to the Trump administration’s tariff on imported steel, the first such ruling on a major energy project since the tariff went into effect. Pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline LP’s request was denied because suitable product is available from domestic producers, the Commerce Department ruling said.
Our Take: Will this tariff effect the pipeline AGDC has planned?
The Real Winners and Losers of Trump’s Trade War Speak Up
Bloomberg, Jeremy Diamond, Crayton Harrison, Lena Lee, Kevin Miller and Phil Serafino, July 17, 2018
Now it’s getting real. U.S.-imposed tariffs on goods from China, the EU and other countries have been met with similar tariffs on American goods. Companies that have warned for months that imposing tariffs would hurt growth and threaten jobs are beginning to report actual, concrete effects from the global trade war.
China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals
CNBC, Natasha Turak, July 17, 2018
China is investing nine times more into Europe than it is into North America as policies force divergence, a report released this week reveals. Chinese outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) has dramatically swung toward Europe in the first half of 2018 and its FDI into North America has dropped by a whopping 92 percent in the last year, from $24 billion to $2 billion, according to multinational law firm Baker Mackenzie.
Alaska’s LNG project looking for private contractor to help with federal permitting
KTOO Public Media, Rashah McChesney, July 16, 2018
Alaska’s gasline corporation is planning to hire a private contractor to help it through the federal permitting process. The move comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent a letter to the state, asking for help. FERC is the lead agency doing the environmental and engineering review of the Alaska LNG project.
Our Take: FERC has potential delays of 12-18 months. That is unacceptable. Involving the private sector will help make the process more efficient and permitting go as smooth as possible.
Another big oil lease sale set for August
Daily Comet, Keith Magill, July 15, 2018
The Trump administration says it will again conduct the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history in August, opening about 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. It remains uncertain whether the lease sale will attract any more interest than the previous two, which attracted bids on 1 percent or less of the tracts offered.
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
FREE-MARKET GROUP TAKES TREASURY TO COURT OVER CLIMATE CHANGE: The conservative think tank Institute for Energy Research filed an open records lawsuit on Tuesday against the Department of the Treasury to block Washington from “quietly advanc[ing] the ‘climate’ industry.”
FOIA: The Freedom of Information Act suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking “certain, specific records relating to the ‘climate risk disclosure’ campaign begun in 2012 by various activist groups including Ceres and Rockefeller Financial Asset Management and led by disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”
Pyle in charge: The group, headed by Tom Pyle, former energy transition chief for Trump, said the climate agenda, if implemented, “would have immense economic and legal consequences.”
What the lawsuit wants: Pyle’s group requested all correspondence by Treasury’s Energy and Environment Director Peter Wisner that mention these terms: “Bloomberg task force,” “G20,” “Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosure,” “climate risk disclosure,” and/or “climate financial disclosure.”
Trump Says U.S. Will Compete With Russia for European Gas Market
Bloomberg, Elena Mazneva, July 16, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump eased his tone about a Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany after a one-on-one meeting with President Vladimir Putin, shifting from the harsh criticism he’d levied in Europe last week. “We are going to be selling LNG and will have to be competing with the pipeline and I think we’ll compete successfully,” Trump told reporters at a press conference with Putin after their meeting in Helsinki on Monday. “I’m not sure necessarily that it’s in the best interest of Germany or not but that was the decision that they made.”
Our Take: Russia’s response? “ They will never catch up with and will never surpass Russian gas exports to the region…”
‘Putin understands power:’ Sullivan discusses Helsinki meeting
KTVA, Liz Raines, July 15, 2018
President Donald Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin Monday in Finland — just days after the indictment of Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election. The news, which broke Friday, had some Republican senators, like John McCain calling for Trump to get tough with Putin or cancel the meeting. On Sunday, Alaska’s junior senator Dan Sullivan weighed in on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think we should still have the meeting,” Sullivan told host Chuck Todd.
Our Take: In the same interview, Sullivan said “projects like the Alaska LNG that increase U.S. energy production could help to improve relations between the two countries.”
Skin in the game: Alaska Department of Revenue soon to complete LNG Project analysis
The Frontiersman, Tim Bradner, July 14, 2018
Alaskans will get their first look at a possible state investment in the large Alaska LNG Project early next year when the state Department of Revenue completes its analysis of financing options for the $43 billion project. There won’t be a recommendation but there will be estimates of how a state equity contribution might help the project along with what risks there might be, state officials told legislators in hearings last Wednesday.
A look forward at Alaska’s economic prospects
Anchorage Daily News, Tim Bradner, July 14, 2018
I was in Fairbanks a couple of months ago having a beer with Mouhcine Guettabi, economist at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. We were in the Interior as part of Northrim Bank’s annual presentations on the state’s economic condition for community leaders. Mouhcine and I were musing about what it will take to jerk Alaska’s economy out of its slump, which is now in its third year
Our Take: The road to recovery for Alaska’s economy relies on responsible resource development.
Under Trump, energy influence groups ramp up
Axios, Amy Harder, July 16, 2018
President Trump has scrambled traditional alliances in Washington across the policy spectrum, including energy. The capital’s influence apparatus is responding in kind. Driving the news: Informal coalitions are popping up under Trump more than they have in the past, according to veteran Washington consultants and newly compiled federal lobbying data. These groups are mostly separate from the familiar, entrenched trade groups that traditionally run Washington’s lobbying and public relations machine.
Chron, Kevin Crowley and Ari Natter, July 12, 2018
Exxon Mobil quit the American Legislative Exchange Council, a lobbying group bankrolled by fossil fuel companies, following a disagreement over climate-change policy. The oil giant won’t be renewing its membership after it expired in June, spokesman Scott Silvestri said by phone. Exxon had a public spat with ALEC in December when some members backed by climate skeptics such as the Heartland Institute moved to convince the federal government to drop its claim that climate change is a risk to human health.
Alaska LNG team braces for logistics challenge
Upstream, July 13, 2018
The developers of the planned Alaska liquefied natural gas export facility are preparing for the challenges of building the massive project in one of the most remote and harshest areas of the US. The scheme calls for a gas treatment plant on the North Slope, a liquefaction facility on the south-east coast at Nikiski, and an 800-mile (1290-kilometre) pipeline to connect them. “It’s going to take a logistical army to accomplish that,” said Frank Richards, senior vice president at project developer Alaska Gasline Development.
Our Take: When the author chose the word “scheme” to describe the project, which definition did they have in mind – a) a carefully, arranged and systematic program of action for attaining some object or end or b) a secret or underhanded plan; plot? AKHEADLAMP applauds the writer, who albeit unwittingly, used one word to describe how Alaskans feel about the project…
Oil Set for Weekly Loss on Trade War Fears, Libya Supply Return
Bloomberg, Grant Smith and Erin Douglas, July 12, 2018
Oil headed for a weekly loss as escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China rattled investors, while Libya’s plans to restore output allayed fears of a supply crunch.
Our Take: Read the next article to see how this impacts Alaska.
Fiscal Year 2018 Closing Numbers
King Economics Group, Ed King, June 29, 2018
While the price of oil ended the fiscal year just shy of $80 per barrel, the early part of the year drags down the annual average to $63.62. This is $7.62 higher than the DOR forecast provided last Fall and $2.62 higher than the updated number they provided in the Spring. The current DOR forecast for FY19 is $63. We expect that number to increase in the Fall forecast, unless there is a sudden shift in the oil market before then. Our current forecast for FY19 is an average oil price closer to $80 per barrel. There are also offsetting opportunities for that number to go higher or lower depending on market events.
Our Take: Legislators were planning on about $1.5 billion from oil taxes to spend on the state budget. They were given a gift when oil prices increased, and the number grew to $1.8 billion. Now it looks like it will be closer to $1.9 billion. AKHEADLAMP remains concerned that rising oil prices lead to weaker backbones for elected officials and diversifying our economy and reducing the size and scope of government gets put on the back burner – once again.
Fed emphasizes ‘solid’ U.S. economic growth, repeats gradual approach
Reuters, Lindsay Dunsmuir and Howard Schneider, July 13, 2018
U.S. economic growth has been solid during the first half of the year and the Federal Reserve continues to expect to raise interest rates gradually, the central bank said on Friday in an upbeat semi-annual report to Congress. Details of the 63-page report were consistent with the Fed’s current outlook detailed at its policy meetings, which is that strong economic growth and low unemployment require rate rises but that a lack of severe inflation pressures means they can remain gradual.
From the Washington Examiner’s, Daily on Energy:
OIL INDUSTRY SLAMS TRUMP’S LACK OF TARIFF RELIEF AS ‘BAD NEWS’ FOR ECONOMY: The oil industry on Friday scolded the Trump administration for denying its requests for relief from tariffs on imported steel, saying the decision is “misguided” and ultimately “bad news” for the American worker.
“The administration’s denial of needed product exclusions from harmful tariffs on steel is bad news for American workers and consumers who have benefited from increased American energy production,” said Kyle Isakower, the American Petroleum Institute’s vice president for policy.
Our Take: Shell and Chevron received waivers for steel products used in pipelines not made in the US. With only 241 waivers processed in June amid a backlog of 20,000 – what does this do to the President’s “energy independence” plan?
Standing room only for the AGDC update to the Legislature’s Joint House and Senate Resources Committee. AGDC, the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) each briefed the legislators on their activities regarding Alaska LNG. A few of the key points:
- AGDC has progressed anchor capacity agreements with Sinopec, CIC Capital & the Bank of China
- AGDC does not believe the trade war will significantly impact Alaska LNG
- AGDC plans to make investing in the project available to public and private investors
- AGDC has enough funding to work through fiscal year 2019 at its current pace
- Click here for AGDC presentation
- Presented their goals of investment and fiscal analyses
- Provide objective review of the opportunity/risks of Alaska LNG for State
- Evaluate fiscal implications of project for State
- Assess potential risks to State and mitigating factors
- Assist Legislature and state in decision to invest in project and financing options
- Click here for DOR presentation
- Provided a detailed update on their royalty gas
- Selection of Royalty in Kind (RIK) or Royalty in Value (RIV)
- Develop and execute a gas sales agreement with AGDC for RIK
- Address valuation process used to calculate royalty gas value if RIV selected
- Click here for DNR presentation
DOR discussed the possibility of the permanent fund investing in the project. DNR Commissioner Andy Mack, who sits on the APFC board, told the crowd that he hasn’t seen any proposal to do so nor has he had any conversations with the Walker administration about plans to do so.
Oil Market Report
International Energy Agency, July 12, 2018
The world’s excess supply of oil may be “stretched to the limit” as Middle East countries and Russia boost production to offset a confluence of output disruptions from major producers. The International Energy Agency, in its monthly oil market report released Thursday, welcomed the recent deal by OPEC and Russia to increase oil production by a collective 1 million barrels per day to stem rising prices and offset lost barrels in Venezuela, Libya, and Iran.
From the Washington Examiner’s, Daily on Energy:
HOUSE TO ROLL OUT ENDANGERED SPECIES AGENDA: House members of the Western Congressional Caucus will come together late Thursday afternoon to introduce eight bills that will make up the GOP-led legislative agenda for updating and modernizing the Endangered Species Act. “These much-needed, critical pieces of legislation will provide important updates to historically and currently problematic or dysfunctional components of the law,” according to the Natural Resources Committee.
Our Take: A big step forward for responsible resource development. The ESA has been abused by “keep it in the ground” groups far too long.
Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil
E&E News, Kelsey Brugger, July 12, 2018
Alaska’s appetite for oil is as ubiquitous as the state’s proliferating examples of a changing climate.
Our Take: An interesting read on climate change, oil and the Governor’s race. There is a GOOD reason why none of the gubernatorial candidates oppose drilling in ANWR.
News that is truly absurd: OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL OPENS CASE ON ZINKE’S SOCKS: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened a case file on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke after receiving a complaint alleging he may have potentially violated the Hatch Act when he posted a photo of himself wearing a pair of “Make America Great Again” socks on social media.
Alaska, shackled with a ‘grave’ budget crisis, is America’s worst state for business
CNBC, Scott Cohn, July 10, 2018
Alaskans just got some good news and some bad news. First, the good news: The state’s budget deficit — estimated at $2.4 billion just a few months ago — has been cut by more than two-thirds, to $700 million. It is still large by state standards, but enough to convince Standard and Poor’s to revise its outlook, to stable from negative, on the state’s debt
Our Take: State GDP rose last year by just 0.2 percent. Foreclosures are up 170% in the housing market. We can do better, but we aren’t. Click here to find out why. Our word is not good in the financial markets. Elections matter.
Trump’s OPEC Tweets Have Putin Preparing for Oil Talks
Bloomberg, Ilya Arkhipov and Elena Mazneva, July 11, 2018
When Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Donald Trump next week, he’ll be armed to discuss oil production following the U.S. leader’s series of tweets targeting OPEC, according to people familiar with preparations for the summit.
Our Take: Newest technique for negotiating between world powers? Twitter. “While Russia says tweets don’t define the policy of the so-called OPEC+ group, Trump’s Twitter post led Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al-Falih last week to reaffirm an agreement reached in June to restore 1 million barrels a day of oil supply.”
Oil’s New Technology Spells End of Boom for Roughnecks
The Wall Street Journal, Christopher M. Matthews, July 10, 2018
After 20 years in the oil-and-gas industry, Eric Neece was used to its booms and busts. He wasn’t surprised when he was laid off by GE Oil & Gas in Conroe, Texas, in 2015 after oil prices plummeted. He figured his job would come back when prices crept back up. He was almost right. The work came back. But Mr. Neece’s former job as a well logger—measuring well conditions thousands of feet underground—was gone. Those duties are increasingly being overseen remotely and handled by automation.
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
A NEW DAY AT EPA AS ANDREW WHEELER ADDRESSES EPA EMPLOYEES: EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler will address all agency employees Wednesday afternoon.
Open to press: The EPA is allowing press to attend the address and is broadcasting a live stream.
“I’m looking forward to addressing EPA employees today about how we work together to improve the Agency’s core functions,” Wheeler said in a Twitter post. “As a former EPA career staffer, I deeply appreciate the work they do for the Agency & the American people.”
Open doors: The open meeting is another sign the EPA under Wheeler is trying to be more transparent with the public after Pruitt was accused of being overly secretive, signaling a shift in tone, even if the policy stays similar.
Our Take: A great move by Mr. Wheeler. Former Administrator Pruitt made great progress in reigning in the EPA and getting rid of burdensome regulations. It was all overshadowed by his behavior. Let’s not lose the ground we gained – work with the press, be transparent and keep the momentum going!
Alaska AFL-CIO president says Walker has earned re-election
KTOO Public Media, Andrew Kitchenman, July 10, 2018
The head of Alaska’s largest labor federation says at this point, Gov. Bill Walker would have most unions’ support. And he wants Walker and former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich to reach an agreement that would leave only one of them in the race for governor. Four years ago, the Alaska AFL-CIO endorsed independent Bill Walker – after Democratic candidate Byron Mallott joined Walker’s ticket as the candidate for lieutenant governor. Based on what the Walker-Mallott administration has done since then, federation President Vince Beltrami said the governor deserves re-election. The AFL-CIO will make an endorsement on Aug. 24 – if two-thirds of its unions can agree.
Our Take: It’s like déjà vu all over again.
Who is Brett Kavanaugh:
- He currently serves as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
- He was White House Staff Secretary during the Presidency of George W. Bush.
- Kavanaugh has been nominated to become an Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court.
- Born: Feb 12, 1965 (age 53) · Washington, D.C., United States
- Education: Yale College · Yale Law School · Yale University
- Previous office: White House Office of the Staff Secretary (2003 – 2006)
Statements from Alaska’s Senators:
Senator Murkowski: “I intend to review Judge Kavanaugh’s decisions on the bench and writings off the bench and pay careful attention to his responses to questions posed by my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Judiciary will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications prior to these hearings and issue a rating. I intend to carefully consider that rating, the information obtained through personal meetings, my own review of Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications and record, and the views of Alaskans in determining whether to support him. My standard for reviewing Supreme Court nominees remains rigorous and exacting,” Murkowski said in a statement.
Senator Sullivan: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Judge Brett Kavanaugh for some time – dating back to when we worked together in the Bush administration. He is very well regarded as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – the second most important court in the country. In that role he is known for applying the law and Constitution as written, upholding our Second Amendment rights, and having a healthy skepticism concerning the powers of federal administrative agencies. In the coming weeks, I look forward to reviewing in further depth Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive record as a D.C. Circuit judge and discussing these and other important issues with him. I expect the upcoming Senate confirmation process to be both rigorous and fair, one deserving of a Supreme Court nominee.”
From today’s Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
KAVANAUGH SKEPTICAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS, BUT OPEN-MINDED: Kavanaugh is generally skeptical of far-reaching environmental regulations, his decisions and writing shows.
But conservatives who favor a deregulatory approach at EPA should not expect Kavanaugh to automatically vote in their favor, experts say.
Not ‘open season’: “Kavanaugh is temperamentally and philosophically skeptical about the exercise of government power, especially when agencies act expansively, and find new powers in longstanding laws,” Jody Freeman, the founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program, told Josh.
“But I don’t think his pick means it’s open season for deregulation,” Freeman added.
Freeman said Kavanaugh would not stand for careless deregulation.
Check the record: Kavanaugh’s long record on environmental opinions shows he is “persuadable, not dogmatic” Freeman said.
But he has voted to invalidate some major EPA pollution rules in dissents and supports strong judicial oversight in reviewing the actions of administrative agencies.
Iran vows to sell as much oil as it can despite U.S. sanctions
Reuters, Reuters staff, July 10, 2018
Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri acknowledged on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions would hurt the economy but promised to “sell as much oil as we can” and protect its banking system. Jahangiri said Washington was trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports, and to disrupt its ports and shipping services. “America seeks to reduce Iran’s oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero,” he said, according to Fars news agency.
‘Cooperation with oil & gas is key to floating wind’s future’
Wind, William Hurley, July 10, 2018
The decades of experience acquired by the oil industry in developing deep-water facilities could be a big boon to floating wind – if true ‘two-way’ collaboration between the sectors can be made to flourish, says William Hurley. Technology transfer from the oil & gas industry, which decades ago ventured from bottom-fixed drill rigs on jackets to immense floating platforms, will be key to speeding the migration of offshore wind into deeper water plays. This acceleration can be accomplished by adapting oil & gas experience to deep-water offshore wind to manage and reduce risk.
Our Take: It’s good to see recognition from renewable energy folks that cooperation with the oil and gas industry is necessary for their success. As we watch Governor Walker’s climate action leadership team (CALT) develop a policy for the state, we will be looking for their plans to “cooperate” with the industry.
Leading 4 Gubernatorial Candidates Support Donlin Mine
Your Alaska Link, Maria Athens, July 5, 2018
Respect the process on resource projects
Anchorage Daily News, Paul Jenkins, July 7, 2018
Our Take: You can’t have it both ways. Governor Walker and gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich need to decide – either they believe in the law and the permitting process – or they want to pick and choose projects that should be allowed to proceed. “Sidestepping the law and suspending the permitting process for Pebble makes no sense…”
Automakers and tech firms scramble for the once little-known element cobalt, essential for iPhones, laptops and electric cars
CNBC, Robert Ferris, July 9, 2018
Demand for batteries in everything from smartphones to electric cars has driven up the price of the once obscure element cobalt, fueling fears of a shortage. Prices for the metal, which is essential in making lithium-ion batteries, more than doubled in 2017 over the previous year, according to the United States Geological Survey. Researchers haven’t yet found a good substitute or way to build batteries without the mineral.
Our Take: With most of the supply coming from the Congo- buyers are nervous. This is a great opportunity for Alaska!! We have cobalt – click here to see where our deposits of cobalt are and how much we have.
Fresh doubt for Alaska tribes seeking land-in-trust
Alaska Public Media, Liz Ruskin, July 6, 2018
A new legal opinion from the solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior throws doubt on whether Alaska tribes can gain “Indian Country”-type jurisdiction by putting land in trust with the federal government
Our Take: An issue to watch. The Interior department has gone back and forth over whether Alaska tribes can put land in trust, or whether that’s precluded by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS, EXCEPT FOR METHANE EMISSIONS, SAYS REPORT: The Obama administration may have exaggerated data on methane emissions to push forward new regulations, according to a new report released Monday by natural gas and fracking proponents in Texas.
Texas is the reason: The group Texans for Natural Gas, described as a grassroots organization supported by large drillers like XTO Energy, conducted a review of available federal data that suggests emissions of methane, a short-lived but powerful greenhouse gas, have been on the decline.
Key findings: Two of the report’s key findings show that methane emissions from venting and flaring natural gas during oil production dropped 17 percent between 2013 and 2016, even as domestic oil production increased by 19 percent. Second, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured, or fracking, natural gas wells declined 82 percent between 2013 and 2016.
‘Inflated’ numbers: The group says the Obama administration “may have relied on inflated estimates of methane emissions” to justify last-minute rules on drillers known as the Waste Prevention Rule. The rule was issued by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management in December 2016, weeks before former President Barack Obama left office.
Obama’s 11th-hour regs: “Curiously, the Obama administration used emissions data from the EPA to try to justify its 11th-hour venting and flaring rule, claiming those data were representative of what’s occurring on federal and Indian lands,” said Steve Everley, spokesman for the natural gas group.
‘Half of what they were’: “But the [Environmental Protection Agency] now says methane emissions are half of what they were when the BLM finalized this costly regulation. At the very least, this raises legitimate questions about the venting and flaring rule, in addition to the legal problems that are still being sorted out in court.”
Our Take: When is it wrong to exaggerate data on methane emissions to impose new regulations? Always. Good move to challenge the data behind the regulations.
Today is the final day of the 27th World Gas Conference held in Washington D.C. Click here to find out what Alaska’s business partners think about small scale projects and the need for messaging to promote natural gas for the future.
US reliance on OPEC endures in spite of shale growth
Financial Times, Anjli Raval, June 29, 2018
Greg Abbott, governor of the state of Texas, hailed the US as an energy-independent country last week, saying on Twitter it would “NEVER AGAIN” be beholden to foreign oil producers. Yet the day before, Saudi Arabia — backed by Russia — pledged a “measurable” rise in output, largely in response to a request by the US to offset a loss in Iranian barrels after the re-imposition of oil sanctions. As the US tries to reset the Middle East, with the withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran a key element of its strategy, it is still turning to the energy might of traditional producers abroad. This reflects in part the limits of the US shale oil boom, and Washington is acutely aware of the domestic blowback should any move to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero result in higher petrol prices for American drivers.
Our Take: Let’s be realistic. The argument for American energy independence is founded on our current dependence on foreign oil.
Sen. Stedman Accepts Appointment to National Petroleum Council
Alaska Senate Majority, Press Release, June 28, 2018
Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) today announced he will serve on the National Petroleum Council (NPC) following his appointment to the board by the Secretary of the Department of Energy, Rick Perry. The NPC is an advisory board to the Secretary of Energy regarding oil and natural gas issues. Sen. Stedman’s role will be to represent the views of the state in public policy decision making. “Having served previously on the NPC in 2014 and 2015, I look forward to again representing Alaska’s unique position on oil and gas issues as the only true Arctic state in the U.S.,” Sen. Stedman said.
Our Take: AKHEADLAMP would like to congratulate Senator Stedman on his appointment. Alaska is lucky to have someone representing our unique and important position on potential development of oil and gas projects.
UPDATE 1-Alaska LNG preparing equity offering, open to joint venture
Reuters, Julie Gordon, June 28, 2018
Alaska Gasline Development Corp (AGDC) is preparing an equity offering for this summer and is open to partnering with a major energy firm on the development of its costly Alaska LNG export terminal and pipeline project, an executive said on Thursday. “We’re going to be putting forward an equity offering that we will hopefully take out onto the street this summer, to try and attract equity dollars,” AGDC Senior Vice President Frank Richards told Reuters at the World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C.
Our Take: This is big news! AKHEADLAMP assumes legislators were briefed on this prior to the announcement.