Norway’s oil and gas divestment spares biggest producers
Mikael Holter, World Oil, March 8, 2019
Big Oil dodged a bullet.
Norway took a partial step in divesting oil and gas stocks in its massive $1-trillion wealth fund, approving the sale of smaller exploration companies while sparing the biggest producers such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. After more than a year of deliberation, the government on Friday approved excluding 134 companies classified as exploration and production companies by FTSE Russell, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Cnooc Ltd. and Tullow Oil Plc. The proposal would see the fund sell about $7.5 billion in stocks.
Russia sets out stringent new rules for foreign ships on the Northern Sea Route
Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer -March 8, 2019
The Russian government has elaborated a set of rules for foreign naval vessels sailing on the Northern Sea Route, according to Izvestia. The newspaper has obtained a copy of the document that states that all vessels are obliged to comply. According to the new rules, a foreign state must send a notification about a voyage at least 45 days ahead of its start, and include the name of the ship, its objective, route and period of sailing, as well as ship characteristics such as length, width, deadweight, draft and type of engine power and the name of the ship’s captain. Ships will be required to have on board a Russian maritime pilot. In case the voyage is not conducted in line with the regulations, Russia will have the right to take extraordinary measures including its forced halt, arrest and — in extreme cases — elimination, Izvestia writes.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
POMPEO TO HIGHLIGHT CERAWEEK ENERGY CONFERENCE: Speaking of Pompeo, he is set to headline the global energy industry’s biggest annual conference, CERAWeek, which begins Monday. Pompeo is the first U.S. secretary of state to address the conference, with a speech focused on “how America’s energy revolution strengthens national security in an age of renewed great power competition.”
Other scheduled speakers include EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — a newly declared 2020 presidential candidate, and more.
Lawmakers want deeper analysis from Dunleavy’s budget team
Steve Quinn, KTVA, March 6, 2019
State lawmakers thought they were going to receive an economic impact analysis Wednesday on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget, which is designed to close a $1.6 billion spending gap. That didn’t happen, however. Members of the Senate and House Finance Committees each pushed back at Dunleavy’s budget team for what they believe was a presentation that came up short.
Our Take: In Senate Finance they only made it through 8 of 23 slides…more fun today at 9am.
State labor economist says state policies have affected recession length
Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media, March 6, 2019
A state labor economist said the state government can control some of the factors that have caused the recession in Alaska to last more than three years. Dan Robinson, the research chief for the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, told the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday that the uncertainty over the size of state government and how the state is going to pay for it are contributing to the recession. “If you’re a business, if you’re an individual, this unsolved problem has you sit on your wallet a little bit,” Robinson said.
LNG To Win Big In U.S.-China Trade Deal
Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.Com, March 6, 2019
The U.S. and China are closing in on a trade deal, and the result could be a lot more U.S. LNG heading east. Reports suggest that Trump is eager to ink a deal, whether or not the content of the agreement resolves all or even most of American grievances, because he fears that the lack of a deal would sink the stock market. At this point, he views that as a domestic political threat, with the 2020 presidential campaign starting up. On top of that, the collapse of talks with North Korea have made Trump a little hungry for a win. China, too, wants a resolution, although they didn’t want the trade war to begin with. In other words, the stars seem to be somewhat aligned in favor of a deal. But that doesn’t mean that the huge, sweeping “structural” issues dividing the two nations will be solved. Far from it. In fact, the rush to sign a trade agreement likely means that those issues will simply be pushed off. Nevertheless, a deal would signal the end of the trade war, taking one of the largest downside risks to commodity markets off of the table.
The Green New Deal’s Effects on Alaska – Part 2 – Transportation
Power the Future, March 6, 2019
Starting with page nine, line four, the GND would require “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable and accessible public transit; and (iii) high-speed rail.”
Let’s think about how that statement fits into Alaska’s lifestyle for a second.
- Has more private pilot licenses per capita than any other state, and with nearly 500 airports and airstrips of record, has one of the busiest private aircraft usage per hour for private pilots in the nation.
- Has the #2 cargo airport in America (and #5 in the world) – the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport – with nearly 500 wide-body cargo landings per week. The same airport also sees over 50,000 passenger landings and over 5.4 million passengers arrive at that single airport each year.
- Is connected to the rest of the US by a 1,390-mile long road from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon, known as the Alaska Highway. Unlike the continental United States, with state and federal highway systems, the Alaska Highway is the only multi-lane, drivable way in and out of Alaska.
- Utilizes a series of eleven long-range and short-trip ferries to connect 35 coastal communities – most of which are inaccessible by road – over a span exceeding 3500 miles (approximately the length between New York City and London).
- Has over 65,000 registered snow machines, another 64,000 registered motorized boats, and over 20,000 motorized ATVs and track vehicles that are used for recreation, subsistence, personal use and commercial hunting and fishing, and getting to and from locations across the state.
Our Take: Headlamp doesn’t have to think, even for a second, about how this DOESN’T fit into Alaska’s lifestyle. The Senate is expected to vote on this in a few weeks. Headlamp predicts that vote will lead to the Green Dead Deal.
From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
INTERIOR TO SOON RELEASE REVISED OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Interior officials at the hearing promised the agency would soon release a revised version of its highly anticipated offshore oil and gas drilling plan.
Walter Cruickshank, acting director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told lawmakers the revised plan would be released “in the coming weeks.”
What’s in the plan: Interior released its draft proposal in January 2018 to permit oil and gas drilling in nearly all federal waters, and lawmakers are eager to see whether Interior shrinks the plan after bipartisan complaints from coastal politicians about the possibility that it could increase spills or hurt tourism.
Under the Interior Department’s draft proposal, spanning 2019 to 2024, more than 90 percent of the total acres on the Outer Continental Shelf would be made available for leasing, including off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which has not been allowed for decades.
Cruickshank clarified the upcoming revised draft is not the final product. It will only be the second iteration of the plan, subject to another 90-day public comment period and further analysis, before the agency produces a final plan.
Uncommitted to changes: Cruickshank would not budge when asked by Democrats representing coastal districts in Florida and California if Interior would scale back the original plan, and exclude those state’s coasts, after overwhelming complaints against drilling in those places.
He said the message of opposition “was certainly received” but public comment would be one of several factors considered.
Republican Sen. Natasha von Imhof delivers stark assessment of governor’s proposed budget
Kristen Durand, KTUU, March 5, 2019
Changes are likely on the way as lawmakers consider Gov. Dunleavy’s proposed plan to implement an austerity budget to pay for full dividends. That’s the message from one of the key decision-makers in Juneau who made a stop in Anchorage Tuesday to talk about the governor’s budget that includes $1.6 billion in proposed cuts. “I don’t think really think we have a fiscal crisis, I think we have a priority crisis,” said Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Sen. Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage at the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Tuesday. There, von Imhof presented a review of the budget and the budget process and heard from constituents. Sen. von Imhof laid out the choices faced by lawmakers: accept the budget as proposed, keep using the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for state services, increase revenue through taxes, like an income tax or oil tax credit reform, or a combination of some or all of the available options. von Imhof noted that the Permanent Fund Dividend under the governor’s proposed budget makes up 37 percent of all general fund spending.
Our Take: The process is working. The legislature is reviewing the Governors budget and they will amend it. Headlamp hopes that the legislature spends the time to look for efficiencies that can be achieved and takes a hard look at what the state’s ROI is on the money they spend on ALL programs and services.
Is This The End Of Alaska’s LNG Ambitions?
Tim Daiss, OilPrice.Com, March 5, 2019
Alaska’s dream of building a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal could be coming to an end. For years, former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pushed the massive $44 billion capex intensive project as a way to offset decades of dwindling oil production in the country’s largest state. He even led delegations on numerous occasions to both China and Japan drumming up support for the project and looking to secure long term off-take agreements necessary to help the project reach the all-important final investment decision. However, Alaska’s new governor, Michael Dunleavy who took office in December, is taking a different approach to the project that was earmarked to send LNG cargoes to Asia-Pacific, a region that accounts for 72 percent of global LNG demand, with that amount projected to reach at least 75 percent amid more demand coming from China.
Our Take: Somehow the media missed the good news about the ASAP project on Monday and a permit achieved. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management signed a joint record of decision (JROD) for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Final (ASAP) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) today. The record of decision is the last regulatory milestone before the Corps and BLM can exercise their federal authorities.”
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO ELIMINATE FOSSIL FUELS: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday a new campaign to eliminate fossil fuels, after forgoing a presidential run.
Bloomberg, a major financier of climate change activism, said that rather than joining a presidential field crowded with candidates vowing to tackle the issue, he could do more “organizing and mobilizing communities to begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy.”
The new project, called Beyond Carbon, represents a shift for Bloomberg, who is best known for his work with the environmental group the Sierra Club on a campaign to eliminate coal.
Gas as a thing of the past: Although he has previously supported natural gas, which emits half the carbon as coal, as an alternative fossil fuel, Bloomberg said Tuesday gas should have a limited shelf life in favor of zero-emission sources such as wind and solar.
Bloomberg did not call for a specific timeline to eliminate fossil fuels, unlike the progressive Green New Deal, which pushes for 100 percent of U.S. electricity to be provided by “clean, renewable and zero-emission sources” by 2030.
Bloomberg also did not say how much money he would devote to the new Beyond Carbon effort
Our Take: We suppose that when you are a billionaire decreasing the quality of life for most other people while increasing their energy costs doesn’t really bother you. #moralcaseforfossilfuels
The Municipality of Anchorage is collaborating with UAA to create the Anchorage Climate Action Plan. They are seeking community input on their draft climate action plan.
Chevron, Exxon Mobil Tighten Their Grip on Fracking
Bradley Olson, Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2019
In the next five years, Chevron expects to more than double its production in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico to 900,000 barrels of oil and gas a day, the company announced at an investor event Tuesday. That’s a nearly 40% increase from its previous forecast. “The shale game has become a scale game,” Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth said in an interview. “The race doesn’t go to the one who gets out of the starting blocks the fastest. The race goes to the one who steadily builds the strongest machine.” Chevron, which now has the lowest debt relative to its size than any of its peers, says it can pay for its new spending and dividends at a price of about $51 a barrel. The company said that is the lowest among the big oil companies, citing data from analytics firm Wood Mackenzie.
CHINA TO BUY US LNG IN TRADE DEAL: MEDIA
William Powell, Natural Gas World, March 4, 2019
China is to buy US gas as part of a trade deal expected to be signed late this month, various media reported March 4. China is to commit to buying $18bn of LNG from Cheniere, but no details such as the start date were given, or why Cheniere was selected. According to a Reuters report, Trump administration officials have said they expect the two presidents to “close” a deal at a summit in coming weeks at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Alaska Senate Backs Development in ANWR
Anchorage Press, Monday, March 4, 2019
“Maintaining progress on the ANWR leasing program shows that Alaska is indeed open for business,” said Sen. Birch. “This resolution will serve as the 31st Legislature’s official comment on the Interior Department’s Draft EIS, which is the first step in a long regulatory process toward an oil and gas leasing program for the ANWR coastal plain.” SJR 7 passed the Senate by a vote of 16-2 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.
Our take: After great discussion, SJR 7 has passed the Senate and moves to the other body for further hearings. We will continue to monitor its progress. A reminder to our readers—the comment period for the BLM’s drafts EIS for coastal leasing expires March 13. To leave a comment, go here, and click “Comment on Document >>” in the righthand column. Alternatively, you can write to: Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS 222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13 Anchorage, Alaska 99513 -7504.
Billionaires Are On the Hunt for New Underground Cobalt
Jack Farchy, Bloomberg, March 3, 2019
Kobold Metals is betting it will be able to find new sources of the metal using what it calls “machine prospecting.” The company is building a database of geological data that it then feeds into an algorithm, hunting for signals that indicate the likelihood of increased concentration of cobalt. “What we’re building is basically Google Maps for the earth’s crust and below,” said Connie Chan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
The gnashing of teeth continues over Governor Dunleavy’s proposed budget. A few things to remember: the legislature considers this as their starting point and will make significant changes (meaning increasing the budget). The majority message at a caucus meeting is not representative of all Alaskans, rather, what special interest does the best job of rallying their troops, and the Governor has a big, red pen. This budget debate will hinge on the PFD – how big will it be and should the previous year reductions be paid back. Based on what we are hearing from the Senate and the House – we predict no paybacks and a reduced PFD.
Craig Medred, March 1, 2019
Some days now it’s hard to avoid wondering if I’m a fool for believing anything printed in the New York Times. Old habits die hard, and most journalists who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s came to consider the “old gray lady” the standard-bearer for journalism. Over the years since, if you are a thinking journalist paying attention, it has unfortunately become clear the Times’ standards are slipping. Where once the newspaper had reporters with knowledge writing about subjects they knew, it increasingly has reporters writing about subjects they clearly do not know.
Our Take: Medred never fails to hit the nail on the head. “The biggest news organization in the country, having clearly decided it was going to write a story about global warming threatening the Iditarod, flew a reporter to Anchorage to gather the cartoon evidence. That just about perfectly sums up where too much journalism is today.” Well worth the read.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
REPUBLICANS SEEK TO COUNTER GREEN NEW DEAL WITH NEW CAUCUS: Republicans launched a new caucus Friday to represent a free-market alternative to the progressive “Green New Deal.”
The bicameral Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, introduced at the Conservative Political Action Conference, will focus on Republican values of conservation and environmental protection. It will address and “counteract centralized big government solutions” with market-based solutions to environmental issues, according to a letter sent earlier this week announcing the caucus to members of Congress obtained by John.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado founded the caucus in the upper chamber, while Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Brian Mast of Florida will lead the caucus in the lower chamber.
Although the idea of the caucus predates the Democratic announcement of the Green New Deal, it underscores the GOP’s belief in a “free market and American innovation as compared to the Green New Deal,” a Senate GOP aide said.
Climate change — it just won’t go there: The caucus will not focus on climate change, as the Green New Deal does, but instead will be concerned with returning to the conservation and environmental stewardship principles of Theodore Roosevelt. That would mean focusing on public lands issues such as conserving wildlife and ensuring against environmental degradation of rivers, streams, and animal habitats.
But the letter also references “energy independence,” a nod to oil and natural gas exports, as well as keeping U.S. leadership in the area of advanced technologies and renewable energy.
Alaska might give up on North Slope gas pipeline, LNG export terminal
Tim Bradner, S & P Global Platts, February 28, 2019
The new CEO of Alaska’s state gas corporation told legislators Thursday he is prepared to shut down the project and return unused funds to the state treasury if customers or investors do not appear in the next few months. Joe Dubler was named in January as CEO of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. by Governor Mike Dunleavy. Dubler told a state Senate budget subcommittee that Dunleavy wants an evaluation of the viability of the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project. Despite marketing efforts and about $1 billion spent in recent years on engineering and environmental work, the project has not attracted customers and faces increasing competition from other LNG projects. That includes a Shell-led project in British Columbia that would export LNG to the same Asian markets Alaska is targeting.
AGDC’s Response: FERC’s comprehensive analysis of Alaska LNG now includes more than 150,000 pages of environmental and engineering data, including responses to more than 1,700 FERC queries submitted since AGDC initiated this permitting process twenty-two months ago. Previous FERC scheduling changes accelerated the permitting calendar, and we believe that today’s revision does not affect the prospects for Alaska LNG. We look forward to working with FERC to complete this process and obtain the permits required to bring Alaska’s North Slope natural gas to market.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chaired a hearing yesterday where International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol testified about his agency’s perspective on global energy markets. IEA, which was founded in 1974, now includes 30 member countries and is a leader on global energy policy and analysis. “I see a huge opportunity for U.S. LNG, having a major market share in Asia, especially in replacing inefficient coal plants because the biggest headache today in China, India and Thailand…is the air pollution in the cities, local pollution in the cities. And natural gas may well be the key solution to all of those countries, and they’re building LNG terminals,” Dr. Birol said. “There will be a very harsh competition between the established exporters, such as Russia and the U.S. LNG, and I see many great opportunities for the U.S. LNG to have a good competition, bringing more flexibility to the markets.”
Senate Confirms Andrew Wheeler to Lead EPA
Alan Neuhauser, U.S News and World Report, February 29, 2019
The Senate on Thursday confirmed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The 52-47 vote largely fell along party lines. Senate Democrats had vigorously opposed Wheeler’s selection to lead the federal agency most responsible for enforcing environmental laws and regulating pollution, citing his previous work on behalf of the coal sector, which in 2017 was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Annual Survey of Mining Companies, 2018
Ashley Stedman and Kenneth P. Green, Fraser Institute, February 28, 2019
Takeaways from the report include:
- Alaska ranks 5th in Investment Attractiveness (2nd in the US—Nevada ranks higher)
- Alaska ranks 26th (mid-range) in Policy Perception
- Alaska ranks 2nd in Best Practices Mineral Potential (2nd in the US—Nevada ranks higher)
- Alaska ranks 5th in the global survey ranking for investment, up from 10th in 2017
Select “Read the Whole Survey” on the Fraser Institute webpage to read more about how the rankings were formulated.
Alaska’s oil production future could be bright, but it’s also unpredictable
Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk, February 27, 2019
Alaska’s oil production has remained relatively flat in recent years, but there could be changes on the horizon as new fields come online on the North Slope. The state House Finance Committee heard an update from the Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday. They were told that the legacy fields — those that are currently producing oil — are still the backbone of the state’s oil production. “But as we go out, you know, five-to-six years out, projects that are expected to come online beyond this fiscal year begin to play a more important role,” said DNR Commercial Analyst Maduabuchi Pascal Umekwe. There are new projects coming online, like Hilcorp’s Milne Point Moose Pad, ConocoPhillips’ CD5 expansion and Greater Mooses Tooth 2. There are also new discoveries in development, like Oil Search’s Pikka.
Our Take: As Alaskans deal with the shock of a budget where revenues meet expenses, its important to remember that the largest funding source for the budget comes from oil production. Increase oil production, increase revenue for the state. Policy matters.
Ottawa gives $1.6 million to Kivalliq hydro-fiber link study
Sarah Rogers, Arctic Today, February 28, 2019
Canada’s federal government will help pay for a study to look at the feasibility of connecting Nunavut’s Kivalliq region west of Hudson Bay to Manitoba’s hydroelectric and fiber-optic networks. Just a few weeks after the Kivalliq Inuit Association pitched the project to federal officials in Ottawa, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) delivered support in the form of a $1.6-million investment. That will help fund a two-year technical and feasibility study on developing a hydroelectric and fibre-optic link that would connect communities in the Kivalliq region to northern Manitoba.
Our take: We have heard from our members that a fibre link to remote communities would greatly enhance operations. This is a tremendous step in both technological advancements and also in providing stable energy for studied regions.
Two U.S. bills could advance American presence in the Arctic
Melody Schreiber, Arctic Today, February 28, 2019
The two bills — the Arctic Policy Act (APA) and the Shipping and Environmental Arctic Leadership Act (SEAL Act) — were both introduced late last year but saw little movement before the session ended. Alaska Sen. Murkowski, a Republican, plans to reintroduce them this spring. Addressing the Alaska State Legislature on February 19, Murkowski framed both pieces of legislation as ways to shore up resources for Alaska and to compete on an increasingly international stage.
Wheeler nears final approval
Kelsey Tamborrino, POLITICO, February 28, 2019
The Senate will vote at 12:30 p.m. today on Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to formally become EPA administrator. Although he’s lost a few backers since his confirmation for deputy, Wheeler is expected to sail through the Republican-controlled chamber. Wheeler has faced questions over his ties to his former lobbying days, as well as over the agency’s handling of PFAS chemicals. But enough Republicans back Wheeler that he should easily clear the chamber today. Wheeler’s “experience makes him uniquely qualified to serve as the head of the agency,” Senate EPW Chairman John Barrasso said from the floor Wednesday.
Oil Has Best Start to a Year Ever as OPEC Production Falls
Amrith Ramkumar, Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2019
Oil prices are off to their best-ever start to a year as fears of a supply glut cool, part of a 2019 recovery in risky investments from stocks to commodities. Oil prices and energy stocks rose Wednesday after data showed U.S. stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week. Fears linger that demand for oil will stall. But the International Energy Agency still expects consumption to increase each quarter this year from a year earlier, albeit at a slower-than-usual pace in the first quarter. Additionally, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have curbed output, despite calls from President Trump for the cartel to keep prices low. Anxiety also remains about the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, fueling bets that prices can at least stay steady even if the rally stalls.
POLAND SIGNS UP FOR MORE US LNG: REPORT
Tim Gosling, Natural Gas World, February 26, 2019
State-controlled PGNiG is set to agree to buy a further 3bn m3/year, according to the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily. That would boost Poland’s planned purchases of US LNG following 2022 by 40%. Late last year Poland agreed several long-term deals that will see it import around 6.7bn m3/yr from the US. PGNiG is at the forefront of the Polish government’s push to increase independence from Russian supplies, and establish itself as a hub for the region. Gazprom currently supplies around 10mn m3/y of Poland’s annual consumption of 16mn m3/yr. The pair’s long-term contract expires in 2022. Poland says it does not plan to extend the agreement.
The push to phase out heavy fuel oil in the Arctic continues
Jane George, ArcticToday, February 27, 2019
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that reducing the risks linked to use of the fuel, commonly known as HFO, in the Arctic is “imperative” as the organization’s High Level Conference on Climate Change and Oceans Preservation in Brussels before the IMO meeting got underway in London on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Canada, along with Russia, remains one of the few countries that haven’t taken a position on the ban. This wasn’t always the case. In late 2016, Canada stated it supported a “phase down” on HFO in its Arctic waters. “Since then, Canada’s position on a HFO ban has changed — it no longer actively supports the ban — a stark contrast to many progressive countries — such as Nordic nations — who vocally support the ban,” said the Clean Arctic Alliance. Meanwhile, Canada has called for assessments into the impacts of an HFO ban on Arctic Indigenous communities.
Our take: Environmental conservation efforts should not come at the cost of communities. Canada’s approach of ensuring that there are no adverse impacts to Arctic communities should be applauded. Meanwhile, as Arctic traffic is increases, moving toward vessel fuel that produces lower emissions and presents a lower spill risk is prudent.
Governor fires chair of Alaska oil and gas commission
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, February 26, 2019
Gov. Mike Dunleavy Tuesday removed the chair of the commission overseeing oil and gas activity, citing “neglect of duty,” following complaints from two commissioners that Hollis French spent limited time at work. The governor said his decision to remove French from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was “effective immediately,” according to a short letter addressed to French Tuesday and released by the governor’s office.
Strong demand for cleaner-burning fuel in Asia continued to drive rapid growth in liquefied natural gas (LNG) use in 2018, with global demand rising by 27 million tonnes to 319 million tonnes, according to Shell’s latest LNG Outlook.
- Growing recognition of the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the world tackles poor air quality and climate change
- Asian LNG imports exceed expectations again in 2018, absorbing continued supply growth
- Near-term supply growth expected to be absorbed by Europe and Asia.
- Continued need for investment in supply to meet long-term demand growth
Our Take: Good news for Asia and the rest of the world! As noted in a recent EPA report, increased natural gas use drives down air pollution. A practical solution to addressing climate change that doesn’t require joining the Paris Accord or rely on a “keep it in the ground” strategy.
Saudi Aramco CEO blasts climate campaigners’ impatience to end oil use
Nick Coleman and Alisdair Bowles, S & P Global, February 26, 2019
The CEO of Saudi Aramco, Amin Nasser, on Tuesday blasted the impatience of climate change campaigners, saying the industry needed time to become cleaner and had to do its “job” of meeting global demand. Speaking at the IP Week conference in London, Nasser said Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest corporate supplier of crude oil, was making “huge” investments in efficiency and tackling emissions, in collaboration with others. But he played down the rate of uptake of electric vehicles and said technologies such as CCS (carbon capture and storage), intended to mitigate climate change by storing CO2 underground, were not yet commercially viable and, though they would eventually “prevail,” would need time to “become commercial.” Nasser said the industry faced a “crisis of perception” and urged his audience to “push back on exaggerated theories like peak oil demand,” referring to the view that oil consumption could peak as soon as the next decade.
OPEC, allies to maintain oil output cuts despite Trump
Rania El Gamal, Reuters, February 26, 2019
OPEC and its allies will stick with their agreement to cut oil supply, pushing for more adherence despite a demand by U.S. President Donald Trump that the producer group ease its efforts to boost crude prices, a Gulf OPEC source said on Tuesday. Based on current market data, the so-called OPEC+ group is “likely to continue with the production cuts until the end of the year”, the source told Reuters.
Oil and gas industry ‘left harmless’ in Dunleavy budget, Democrats say
James Brooks, February 24, 2019
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cuts to state services have drawn the ire of many Alaskans, but something uncut is drawing attention from the two minority members of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, said last week that the governor is leaving the oil and gas industry untouched even as he pursues cuts to education, health care and other state services.
Our Take: This is a horrible headline, meant to make readers believe that companies like BP, Exxon and ConocoPhillips are getting money in the state budget when others are receiving drastic cuts Nothing could be further from the truth. As Kara Moriarty points out, these are payments required by law and they are going to smaller companies – like Furie, BlueCrest and Caelus. Headlamp is disappointed that the ADN intentionally chooses to mislead people. A more accurate headline would have been “Alaskan support companies remain unpaid while state attempts to pay what it owes.”
Oil Falls After Trump Warns Crude Prices ‘Too High’
Dan Molinski and David Hodari, The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2019
- Oil prices fell from three-month highs Monday after President Trump warned crude-oil prices are getting too high and could hurt the global economy.
- West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. oil standard, fell 2% to $56.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI ended Friday at $57.26 a barrel, its highest closing price since Nov. 12.
Alaska GOP Gov. Dunleavy disbands state climate response team
Nathaniel Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk, February 23, 2019
Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has formally disbanded the task force formed by his predecessor to guide the state’s response to global warming. In an administrative order this week, Dunleavy revoked a separate, 2017 order by Bill Walker, an independent, establishing the task force and a state climate change strategy. Dunleavy’s order was not publicly announced. The governor’s office sent letters to task force members around 5 p.m. Friday informing them that their work for the task force “has ended.” The state’s website dedicated to the task force and strategy also appears to have been taken down.
Our Take: Sloppy reporting by Herz. Governor Walker’s task force was led by someone who lived in Seattle, who was paid a six- figure salary in addition to the state paying for all of her travel to and from the state. And Nat, the website dedicated to the task force was removed December 5th and reported by numerous media outlets. We expect better….oh wait, no we don’t.