Finally, some fairness in global reporting of greenhouse gas
George David Banks, The Hill, January 14, 2019
A few weeks ago, the Trump administration scored a major diplomatic victory in international climate policy in the industrial city of Katowice, Poland. While this win won’t receive much attention in the headlines, Trump’s State Department achieved a decades-old foreign policy goal that helps protect U.S. manufacturing and levels the playing field against major economic competitors, particularly China. At stake was transparency in the reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the creation of a single set of rules for all countries. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United States faced more stringent reporting requirements than its competitors in the developing world. The Katowice agreement now requires others to do the same as the United States — report their GHG emissions across all sectors, including trade-sensitive industries like steel, chemicals and aluminum.
Our Take: You don’t have to be a part of the Paris Accord to make progress. George David Banks, the author of this piece, will be speaking at Meet Alaska in Anchorage on Friday, January 18th.
DIVIDED: Major Green Groups Not Endorsing Green New Deal Because It Goes Too Far
Power the Future, January 17, 2019
The left is growing increasingly divided over whether to support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist-inspired “Green New Deal.” While Ocasio-Cortez pushes a reluctant Nancy Pelosi to embrace her far-left agenda, organizations on the left, including major environmentalist groups, aren’t so sure they like Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. The New Republic reports that while 626 environmental groups have backed the “Green New Deal,” submitting a letter to Congress voicing their support, “six of the largest, most influential environmental advocacy groups didn’t sign it.”
Our Take: If you can’t get the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council and the Audubon Society on board with your plan – you might be too radical. Daniel Turner, Executive Director of Power the Future, will be speaking at Meet Alaska in Anchorage on Friday, January 18th.
State says it will answer FERC’s engineering questions by June
Larry Persily, January 16, 2019
Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC) has told federal regulators it will be late June before the state-led project team can provide all the detailed engineering data requested in December for the proposed Alaska LNG project’s gas treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay and gas liquefaction plant in Nikiski. AGDC on Jan. 15 responded to 76 technical engineering data requests submitted Dec. 26 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is preparing the project’s environmental impact statement. The state corporation answered five of the requests. It said it would provide responses to 43 of the questions by March 1, 22 by May 3 and the last six by June 28. However, that is not the end of the data requests.
Our Take: What to watch for – additional state funding from the legislature. With only about $15 million left going into the new fiscal year, the agency will need more money to continue.
Alaska House remains disorganized as Senate prepares for session ahead
Sean Maguire, KTUU, January 15, 2019
The Alaska House of Representatives gaveled into session Tuesday afternoon, but members were unable to organize a functional coalition or elect a House Speaker. For weeks, members from both parties have been working behind the scenes to establish a majority in the House without a result. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer gaveled the House into session and began swearing lawmakers in after the pledge of allegiance and state song. A controversy erupted when Meyer tried to deliver a note from Gov. Mike Dunleavy to House Republicans regarding the vacant seat for House District 13.
Our Take: Representative Gary Knopp must have an incredible plan in mind to allow this to continue. Thank goodness the Senate is organized and working.
U.S.-Qatar Energy Partnership Has Russia On Edge
Tim Daiss, OilPrice.Com, January 15, 2019
It’s been well noted on my OilPrice.com posts over the past year that President Donald Trump isn’t happy with where and even how much of Europe procures its natural gas. It’s still been less than a year when Trump shocked media both at home and abroad with his tongue lashing of EU members and more poignantly Germany over its continued reliance on geopolitically charged Russian natural gas. As a refresher, in early July Trump lashed out at long-time, strategic ally Germany for supporting the Russian-backed Nordstream 2 gas pipeline, stating that Berlin had become “a captive to Russia”, while he criticized German leaders for failing to raise defense spending more. In fact, Trump unashamedly jabbed Germany in front of an international audience and a host of media just before a NATO summit in Brussels, adding that it was “very inappropriate” that the U.S. was paying for European defense against Russia.
First U.S. crude cargoes head to China since trade breakthrough: sources
Collin Eaton, Reuters, January 15, 2018
The vessels left Galveston, Texas, last month and are scheduled to arrive at Chinese ports between late January and early March, according to shipbrokers and vessel tracking data. The shipments mark a change since Chinese buyers largely began avoiding U.S. oil during the trade dispute that flared last summer. “It looks like China has resumed purchasing U.S. crude,” one U.S.-based shipbroking source said. The person, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the destination data could yet change. China is the world’s biggest crude importer and became a top buyer of U.S. crude after Washington lifted a 40-year ban on shipments in late 2015. It imported 325,000 barrels per day (bpd) of U.S. crude in the first nine months of 2018, customs data showed.
Colorado Supreme Court rules in favor of oil and gas regulators in Martinez environmental case
Blair Miller, KMGH-TV, January 14, 2019
The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday overturned a lower court’s decision that said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was required to weigh the impact of oil and gas development on public health and the environment in deciding whether to approve new drilling permits and rules pertaining to the oil and gas industry in Colorado. Colorado Supreme Court Justice Richard Gabriel wrote the unanimous 7-0 decision that was released Monday, which found that the COGCC “properly declined to engage in rulemaking to consider a rule” proposed in 2013 by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and a group of Boulder teenagers.
Gas board moving ‘one step at a time’ after shake-up
Margaret Kriz Hobson, E & E News, January 15, 2019
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) last week shook up the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. leadership by appointing four new members to the agency’s seven-person board of directors. Days later, the new agency board held its first meeting, electing Dunleavy appointee Doug Smith as board chairman. Then the new team promptly fired AGDC President Keith Meyer, who had been hired by Dunleavy’s predecessor, Bill Walker (I). In Meyer’s place, the board named Joe Dubler as interim president beginning Feb. 1. AGDC isn’t planning to hire a new, full-time president for the immediate future, according to board President Smith (Energywire, Jan. 11).
OPEC Weighs a First-Ever Influence Campaign in the U.S.
Benoit Faucon and Timothy Puko, January 11, 2019
OPEC is debating an aggressive public-influence campaign aimed at U.S. lawmakers and the White House, a first in its six-decade history, according to officials at the organization. The proposed message is simple: OPEC plays a vital role in helping the U.S. economy. Although officials at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries don’t plan to meet directly with politicians and policy makers, the case for a lobbying effort has taken on new urgency. Members fear OPEC could fall under U.S. antitrust laws amid threats from the Trump administration and a barrage of tweets from President Trump accusing the group of inflating oil prices.
Oil slipped to around $60 a barrel on Monday after data showed weakening imports and exports in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, raising the prospect of a slowdown in fuel demand. China’s exports fell by the most in two years in December while imports contracted, official figures showed, pointing to further weakness in what is also the world’s second-largest economy.
Memo: Staff would be affected by unorganized Alaska House
Associated Press, January 11, 2019
The Alaska Legislature’s human resources manager says legislative staff will be affected if the House does not organize a majority. Legislative Affairs Agency Human Resource Manager Skiff Lobaugh, in a memo, says the current speaker, Democrat Bryce Edgmon, temporarily approved staff using interim funding that extends through Tuesday, when the new session begins. But Lobaugh says if the House does not organize, session staff would not be considered authorized starting Wednesday, and having them work could raise liability issues.
Our Take: #leadershipnow. Not paying staff who moved to Juneau is a bad way to start the session, not to mention the impact this will have on the ability of the Governor to advance his priorities – like strengthening public safety.
What’s Happening to Alberta’s Oil?
Petro Industry News, January 2, 2019
It’s no secret that the state of Alberta’s oil economy is turbulent, with a recent price collapse triggering fears of economic contagion. In the face of a downturn the Liberals aren’t holding back on scaling down operations, launching a series of strategic moves designed to curb production. This includes the introduction of new regulations and energy-hostile bills, as well as the withdrawal of tax incentives and abandonment of pipeline options.
Our Take: Policy matters. As Senator Wielechowski, once again, introduces legislation that is meant to reduce production, and thereby reduce income to the state, Alaska can learn from Alberta. Their “hostile” policies could cost Alberta $5 billion. Let’s not go there Alaska.
There is a saying in oil and gas exploration — Big fields get bigger. That maxim has held true for Alaska’s BP-operated giant Prudhoe Bay, where more than 40 years after first oil the UK supermajor and its partners continue to turn over new chapters at what remains the most productive US oilfield in history. Those horizons include pioneering enhanced oil recovery techniques, consistent well work and an increasing focus on natural gas liquids, as well as potential gas sales through a proposed liquefied natural gas project. Prudhoe Bay was initially projected to produce 9.6 billion barrels of oil. But since then about 3 billion barrels more of fluid hydrocarbons have been extracted, when natural gas liquids are included, according to BP figures. “We’re at 12.6 billion [barrels] now, and I would say around 14 billion is looking like its potential,” says Scott Digert, BP’s resource development area manager for Greater Prudhoe Bay. That projection takes into consideration oil price economics and a production horizon through 2050.
Our Take: The work plan for Prudhoe Bay in 2019 means work for Alaska contractors: 35 wells and sidetracks, eight rig workovers and up to 500 “rate-adding well work jobs.”
Meyer out as president of Alaska gas line agency
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, January 10, 2019
Keith Meyer is out as the president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. Meyer was dismissed from his position on Thursday and replaced on an interim basis by Joe Dubler, who is currently the executive vice president of finance and administration for the Cook Inlet Housing Authority. Dubler worked for AGDC as vice president of commercial operations under former President Dan Fauske, who resigned from the position at former Gov. Bill Walker’s request in November 2015 after the Legislature approved a buyout of TransCanada Corp.’s interest in the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project.
Our Take: Doug Smith’s election to Chairman of the Board is exciting. Alaskans were concerned about the lack of private sector involvement and China as a financing partner. Headlamp predicts that Smith will work to strengthen the links between AGDC, the private sector and the state departments working on the project. The expertise of the private sector companies in negotiating financial terms with China could go a long way in easing the fears of Alaskans.
Department of Interior’s Job: Trash Collection and Toilet Cleaning, or Lands Oversight and Energy Dominance?
Power the Future, January 9, 2019
As the stalemate over federal government funding and how to keep Americans safe from illegal immigration enters its third week, environmental extremists are erupting over the Department of Interior doing one of the essential items it is tasked with implementing. Environmental zealots are outraged that the Bureau of Land Management is moving ahead with public hearings on opening Alaska’s 1002 coastal plain inside of ANWR to drilling and development, even though many other activities of the Department are shut down. They beat their collective heads against the wall of reason, wondering why national parks garbage overflowing and a lack of rangers can have, service areas and tourist shops closed, while these hearings continue. The answer is simple: the people working through the shutdown to advance America’s energy priorities in Alaska are paid for by fees associated with the very jobs and processes they’re currently working on.
BREAKING NEWS: Former Alliance board member Doug Smith elected new chair of Alaska Gasline Development Corporation
China’s Gas Pivot Is Starting To Pay Off
Tim Daiss, OilPrice.Com, January 9, 2019
Environmental authorities in China said on Friday that Beijing and its surrounding industrial province of Hebei cut smog emissions by at least 12 percent in 2018 after a long crackdown on polluters as well as campaigns to reduce household coal use. Beijing’s local government said that the city’s emissions of small, hazardous breathable particles known as PM2.5 fell 12 percent to 51 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg) over the whole of 2018. The government said that average emissions are still significantly higher than China’s official air quality standard of 35 micrograms. It added that 656 polluting enterprises were forced to relocate last year, with firms and individuals fined a total of 230 million yuan ($33.50 million) for violations, up 22.5 percent from last year.
From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
INDUSTRY GROUPS TOUT LNG EXPORTS TO LOWER EMISSIONS IN 2019: Oil industry trade groups announced Thursday that the U.S. becoming the third largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in 2019 will lead to significant emissions reductions.
The new joint assessment, led by the American Petroleum Institute, Center for LNG, and the group LNG Allies, is meant to underscore the job creation, emissions reductions and reliable energy supplies that U.S. LNG will provide in the new year.
“With LNG export capacity set to nearly double in 2019, the United States is poised to become a leading global supplier,” said Todd Snitchler, API’s vice president for market development.
He said LNG cargoes have been delivered to nearly 30 countries around the globe, stating that as LNG demand continues to grow, the industry expects even more countries to reap the benefits of reduced emissions from U.S. LNG.
The statement follows a report by the Rhodium Group earlier this week that showed U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose last year due to the rapid uptick in natural gas and despite the continued retirement of coal-fired power plants.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday reintroduced a bipartisan package of more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills. Murkowski, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and one of the four primary negotiators for the package, ensured it reflects a wide range of Alaska priorities.
“While we weren’t able to pass this bipartisan package at the end of the last Congress, its provisions remain important, and we will have an opportunity to take it up early this year,” Murkowski said. “From authorizing land allotments for Alaska Native Vietnam veterans and greater access to federal land for sportsmen, to helping with the right-of-way for the gasline project and the needs of individuals who live in communities like Kake and Utqiaġvik, this is a good package for Alaska.”
The lands package – S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act – includes the following provisions of interest to Alaskans:
- S. 217, the Denali Improvement Act – Provides routing flexibility for the Alaska gasline project in Denali National Park and Preserve.
- S. 346, the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring Act – Improves the nation’s volcano-related capabilities to help keep communities and travelers safe.
- S. 733, the Sportsmen’s Act – Promotes access and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities on federal land.
- S. 785, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act – Introduced by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, to ensure the federal government fulfills its decades-old promise to provide allotments to Alaska Natives who served in the Vietnam War.
- S. 884, the Small Miner Relief Act – Clarifies that four Alaska miners are to be exempt from the claim maintenance fee assessed by the Bureau of Land Management.
- S. 1149, the Kake Timber Parity Act – Repeals a statutory ban preventing the export of unprocessed logs harvested from lands conveyed to the Kake Tribal Corporation.
- S. 1486, Ukpeaġvik Land Conveyance – Requires the Department of the Interior to convey all right, title, and interest in the sand and gravel resources within and contiguous to the Barrow Gas Field to the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation.
- S. 1493, the Chugach Land Study Act – Requires the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a study to identify the effects that federal land acquisitions have had on Chugach Alaska Corporation’s ability to develop its lands, and to identify options for a possible land exchange with the corporation.
- S. 1787, the National Geologic Mapping Act Reauthorization Act – Renews this program, which is run by the U.S. Geological Survey, for five years.
Gas line corporation president awarded $296,000 bonus as new board members chosen
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, January 7, 2019
Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced changes to the board of the state gas line agency on Monday, the same day officials confirmed the head of the agency was awarded $296,000 in bonuses in late December. The performance-based bonuses for Keith Meyer, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., come atop his $550,000 annual salary, the highest at the state.
Our Take: This bonus is completely on par and very common for executives at this level. The challenge is the optics: budget deficit, reduced PFD, performance bonus while missing a major deadline on December 31st.
Breaking: Dunleavy changes gasline board members
Suzanne Downing, Must Read Alaska, January 7, 2019
JOEY MERRICK, HUGH SHORT DISMISSED; DAN COFFEY, DOUG SMITH REPLACE
Gov. Michael Dunleavy today announced key changes and appointments to the seven-member board of directors governing the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. But not before the previous board gave AGDC President Keith Meyer a $300,000 performance bonus for his work over the past two years, adding to his $550,000 base annual salary. Meyer’s contract is up this year. The board had given him $138,750 for June 2017, and $157,256 for 2018. Dunleavy has now changed out four of the seven members of the board, so Alaskans might expect more changes ahead in coming days.
Our Take: Congratulations to former Alliance board President Doug Smith! What a great private sector addition to the board. Thanks to Alliance member Joey Merrick for his service on the board.
A power shift in the House and a new crop of lawmakers have mining critics reviving their attempt to fundamentally change the law that governs the practice, and companies are readying their counterattack. Step one for reformers is a major education campaign on the 1872 General Mining Act; step two is navigating the new political landscape on Capitol Hill. Debates surrounding mining will see a fundamental shift. Beyond the 95 new members, 58 percent of House Democrats have never worked in the majority and 70 percent of House Republicans have never been in the minority. The most recent iteration, H.R. 5753, would have replaced mining claims with a federal leasing system similar to other commodities.
Our Take: Reality check: “Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is likely to keep working on making permitting faster and reducing American dependence on so-called critical minerals.”
From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY GROUPS URGES END TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: The oil and gas industry is urging the Trump administration and Congress Tuesday to resolve the government shutdown before the energy industry is harmed.
“A longer shutdown is certainly not good for this industry,” said Mike Sommers, the president and CEO of API, the main trade group representing the oil and natural gas industry, in comments to reporters ahead of its 2018 State of American Energy event in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.
Sommers said the industry has not experienced any setbacks so far. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Trump administration is still processing oil and gas permits for drilling on federal land and water during the government shutdown.
But the industry fears a prolonged shutdown could slow progress at the EPA and Interior Department to roll back environmental regulations
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR IS ‘NOT GOOD FOR BUSINESS’ OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY SAYS: Sommers also encouraged the Trump administration on Tuesday to resolve its trade dispute with China, and to soften its broader approach to imposing barriers on markets for goods.
The oil and gas group’s CEO said he is “encouraged” by reports that U.S-China trade talks are making progress.
But he said: “We want this dispute to end quickly.”
“We need to do it in way that doesn’t affect American economic leadership that is really driven by American energy leadership,” Sommers added.
LNG and infrastructure are affected: Sommers specifically expressed concern about China’s 10 percent tariff on American liquified natural gas, which it imposed in October in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs.
Industry officials have warned that Trump’s trade war with Beijing is threatening to discourage China, the world’s fastest growing LNG market, from signing long-term contracts with American developers.
“We need to make sure retaliatory tariffs on LNG don’t continue and certainly don’t expand,” Sommers said.
Sommers added that Trump’s 25 percent steel tariffs are raising costs for energy infrastructure that API says is needed to transport record U.S. production of oil and natural gas.
A gassy New Year
Natural Gas News, January 7, 2019
The expected flurry of final investment decisions that will be taken this year to build LNG terminals in North America, Russia, Africa and elsewhere cannot of course disguise the fact that oil is still of paramount importance. And the same producers are involved in some of the biggest projects in both oil and gas, so there cannot be cut-throat competition, exactly. Nevertheless, the rate of change is heartening and reflects the rapid absorption of LNG on the global market in the last year, when many were digging themselves in for a glut and knock-down prices. Competitive pricing is one thing, value-destruction another. After a relatively quiet few years, it means that there is confidence in a market for gas in its own right – power, heating, marine and road transport, petrochemicals and manufacturing – but also it will be less rigid than before.
Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR
Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk, January 4, 2019
As the partial government shutdown drags on, the Trump administration is making sure some Interior Department employees continue work on one of its biggest, most controversial priorities: opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Drilling opponents were quick to criticize the move, contrasting it with the overflowing trash cans and unattended public toilets in national parks managed by Interior, which have become a symbol of the continuing stalemate in Washington, D.C.
Oil rises 3 percent; lifted by OPEC cuts, steadying stock market
Stephanie Kelly, Reuters, January 7, 2019
Oil prices climbed about 3 percent on Monday, rebounding further from 1-1/2-year lows reached in December on support from OPEC production cuts and steadying equities markets. Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose $1.47 to $58.53 a barrel, a 2.6 percent gain, as of 11:12 a.m. EST (1612 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures rose $1.56 to $49.52 a barrel, a 3.3 percent gain. Oil futures have gained about 10 percent since last Monday.
From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
PELOSI PLANS TO RESURRECT FAILED CAP-AND-TRADE BILL FROM A DECADE AGO: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that she plans to resurrect something similar to the failed cap-and-trade bill that the House passed nearly a decade ago but that the Senate couldn’t muster the votes to pass.
“We couldn’t pass in the Senate our climate bill, and we’ll be returning to that,” Pelosi said on Friday at as part of MSNBC’s “The Speaker” town hall broadcast.
Old ideas reborn: Pelosi is referring to the bill named after former Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, who is now a senator. The bill put in place a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, while offering emission credits to the power plant operators, which they would have to purchase in order to meet the cap. The price of the credit would adjust as an incentive to reduce emissions.
Our Take: What was that definition of insanity? The Senate wouldn’t pass it before and Headlamp would put money on the same thing happening again.
Judge tosses lawsuit questioning constitutionality of tax credit bonds
Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce, January 3, 2019
The small oil companies and banks holding more than $800 million in refundable tax credits scored a victory Wednesday when an Alaska Superior Court judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the state’s plan to sell bonds to pay off those credits. Judge Jude Pate granted the State of Alaska’s motion to dismiss the suit filed by former University of Alaska regent Eric Forrer arguing against the constitutionality of the bond scheme contained in House Bill 331 that the Legislature approved last spring.
Our Take: Though AKHEADLAMP appreciates this decision, the likely appeal will delay payments that are owed and continue to create an environment of instability. Instability is the enemy of investment “When the earned credits weren’t paid off in full in the fiscal years 2016-18 state budgets, as had previously been done, the banks holding them mostly stopped lending into the Alaska oil sector.” Enough said.
Alaska gives Chinese firms more time to consider LNG deal
Carl Surran, Seeking Alpha, January 4, 2019
Alaska’s government says it extended a deadline for Sinopec (NYSE:SNP) and other Chinese companies to agree on liquefied natural gas purchases and financing for the $43B Alaska LNG project. State-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. says it is typical in negotiations on large energy projects to see deadlines extended – by six months, in this instance – but that the current U.S.-China trade dispute has added complications. If built, the project would export up to 20M metric tons/year of LNG, with 15 tons/year reserved for China in the deal now being discussed and 5M available for other potential customers such as Japan and Vietnam.
China looks to LNG as cold weather sweeps in
Xu Yihe, Upstream Online, January 3, 2019
China is again relying on liquefied natural gas imports to meet peak energy demand this winter but is expected to see fewer spot cargoes coming in as major importers have already secured enough long-term supplies. Industry officials said that in the winter season running from November 2018 to March 2019, China’s LNG purchases from the spot market or based on short- term supply contracts will be down by 30% to about 3.4 million tonnes versus the last winter season. “Chinese buyers are well prepared for the possible supply crunch this winter and therefore have tried to secure more supplies based on long-term contracts in order to cushion against possible price hikes in spot cargoes,” said one official from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).