“economic dynamism, environmental stewardship”; BP’s gas play

September 30, 2019 | Posted in : News

How to Cut Emissions Without Wrecking the Economy
Christopher Crane and Ted Halstead, Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2019

It’s one thing to build an odd-bedfellow coalition around broad principles, quite another to refine the details of an actionable plan. That we have now done. The Council’s Bipartisan Roadmap will be released in the coming months, but we can preview here three of its salient features.
The first is our plan’s environmental ambition. It calls for a carbon fee starting at $40 a ton and increasing annually at 5% above inflation.
Second, the vast majority of Americans will be economic winners under our plan. According to the U.S. Treasury, 70% of American families—including the most vulnerable—would come out ahead, receiving more in carbon dividends than they pay in increased energy costs
Third, our plan’s environmental and social ambition is matched by equally strong pro-business and pro-competitiveness provisions.

Our take: “Unlike many climate plans, which require large increases in taxes, deficits or both, ours will “finance” the transition to a low-carbon future by incentivizing individual and corporate behavior and by leveraging the extensive resources of the private sector. It will also spur American innovation and let the market decide on the best low-carbon technologies and energy sources.” Markets, not mandates.


BP’s gas play
Craig Medred, Sept 28, 2019

BP is going big on liquified natural gas (LNG), only not in Alaska. Less than a month after the London-based petroleum giant announced it had found a way to extricate itself from its 49th state oil and gas holdings, it revealed a $9.61 billion, 18-year deal to sell LNG to South Korea’s state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS).

A decade ago, Alaska was expected to become the major gas supplier for the U.S. Midwest. As envisioned by the state and federal governments, and the major Alaska oil producers, a pipeline would snake south for 1,700-miles from the edge of the Arctic Ocean through Alaska across Canada’s Yukon Territory and the province of British Columbia to connect to Canadian pipelines in the southern portion of the province of Alberta.

Neither national nor international markets look good for Alaska North Slope gas in the short term, though the Wall Street Journal noted some analysts are suggesting a growing future demand for gas if China “more aggressively turns to gas to fuel power plants in place of coal.”

Plagued by air pollution from coal-fired power plants, China would like to transition to gas and renewables, but that move is not a given in a country more worried about its economy than its air or increases in carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.


LNG Investments Hit Record $50 Billion in 2019

LNG Buyers Fret Over Feast-or-Famine Forecasts

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Climate Week misses the boat; Saudi supply fears wane

September 27, 2019 | Posted in : News

How ‘Climate Week’ Completely Missed The Boat On Natural Gas
Jude Clemente, Forbes, September 26, 2019

As a cleaner, more flexible, and more reliable fuel that supports intermittent wind and solar power, Natural gas is a centerpiece of climate and energy strategies put forth, including under President Obama. Incredibly, Climate Week in New York City did not have a single “Energy Transition” event that focused on gas. We know that this is a terrible missed opportunity because the surge in U.S. gas use has the country leading the world in CO2 reduction.

Just ask Dr. Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency, the energy advisor of our 36 OECD nations: “In the last 10 years, the emissions reductions in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy.” During this time, U.S. gas demand has soared over 30%, and gas has extended its share of U.S. electricity from 21% to 38%. Unfortunately, Climate Week ignored the reality that IEA has gas demand actually rising under its Sustainable Development Scenario that is fully aligned with the global Paris Agreement for climate signed in December 2015.


Oil prices head for weekly loss as supply fears wane
Stephanie Kelly, Reuters, September 26, 2019

Oil prices steadied on Friday but were heading for a weekly loss on a faster-than-expected recovery in Saudi output, while investors also worried about global crude demand amid slowing Chinese economic growth. Sources told Reuters this week that Saudi Arabia had restored capacity to 11.3 million barrels per day. Saudi Aramco has yet to confirm it is fully back online.


From the Daily on Energy:
FERC AND UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY PARTNER ON FORUM TO HELP COAL WORKERS: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is partnering with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research on a forum to discuss challenges to workers caused by the transition of the energy system away from fossil fuels.

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, a Republican from Kentucky, a coal state, announced Thursday the first ever “EnVision Forum” to take place October 21 with panel events focused on topics ranging from workforce impacts to the intersection of telecom and energy policies, to climate change, criminal justice, and water-related issues.

“We want to start some new conversations with new voices and create relationships and understanding among the range of interests that are affected by this energy transition,” Chatterjee said. “Launching the EnVision Forum in my home state of Kentucky, where we are seeing a wave of societal challenges due to the closure of coal plants and mines, was the logical first step for us to take.”

The forum, held at the University of Kentucky, includes a diverse set of speakers, most notably, coal executive and President Trump donor Bob Murray, Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse — a fossil fuel industry critic.

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A tale of 2 cities (or states) CO & NM; Woke fracking rhetoric a loser for America

September 26, 2019 | Posted in : News

New Colorado Oil & Gas Law Already Impacting Industry
Shaun Boyd, Denver CBS Local, September 25, 2019

Climate activists demonstrated outside a hearing where the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is implementing a new law that makes sweeping changes to how drilling is regulated. The industry is already feeling the impact of that law. Five months after the law took effect, drilling permits are down 60% from what they’ve averaged over the last decade, one operator has declared bankruptcy, and 10 local communities have passed moratoriums on new drilling.

Our Take: In only five months…Policy impacts investment! While in NM, where the industry is thriving: Oil industry group starts $1M fund for community projects.    


Fracking Ban Rhetoric Might Appeal to Woke Left But It’s A Loser For America
Dan Eberhart, Forbes, September 23, 2019

With the 2020 presidential election around the corner, Democrat candidates are laying out what they hope is a winning platform on energy. Climate change is playing a leading role with both MSNBC and CNN hosting major climate forums.  In their zeal to cater to the radical wing of the party’s base, many candidates – Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris among them – are calling for a total ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production on public and private lands.  While a fracking ban might win some votes among environmental activists, it’s a guaranteed loser for America’s economy, energy security – and for efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Climate policies that reject the benefits of natural gas will do more harm than good  Sure, casting the oil and gas industry in the role of climate villain resonates with the party’s woke activists. What it won’t do is reduce carbon emissions.


YK Delta tribal consortium withdraws support for Donlin Gold mine
Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Bethel, September 25, 2019

The Association of Village Council Presidents no longer supports the proposed Donlin Gold mine. The decision came after two hours of passionate debate Wednesday, during the organization’s annual convention. Delegates from the 56 tribes that AVCP represents overwhelmingly voted to withdraw a 2006 resolution supporting the mine, and then voted to pass a separate resolution that opposes it. There were forty-one delegates attending the convention.

Our Take:  We hope that the Council will remain open to reversing this opposition. The economic opportunities for the region should not be underestimated and Donlin has proven to be a great partner in the region already – working responsibly and safely to advance the project and providing jobs and other  benefits for the region. 

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Hump Day Hope: Adequate analysis, stakeholder engagement before decisions made.  

September 25, 2019 | Posted in : News

How Seattle stakeholders put the brakes on the city’s proposed gas ban
Tom DiChristopher, S & P Global Market Intelligence, September 24, 2019

A diverse group of stakeholders succeeded in delaying a proposed natural gas ban in Seattle, showing how industry and labor groups are learning to push back against the sudden rise of municipal ordinances that prohibit gas for heating and cooking in new buildings. The effort halted the advance of legislation that took the Seattle business community by surprise when City Councilman Mike O’Brien unveiled it in early September. O’Brien had planned to advance the bill through the Sustainability and Transportation Committee on Sept. 17 and hold a full council vote Sept. 23. But O’Brien delayed the committee vote last week amid an outcry from labor unions, real estate groups, appliance manufacturers and retailers, and local gas utility Puget Sound Energy Inc. The stakeholders succeeded by turning the truncated timeline into a rallying call, arguing that lawmakers were rushing to the finish line without doing due diligence.

Our Take:  An all too common theme – “ lawmakers had neither sought their input on the legislation nor produced adequate analysis on its potential impacts on ratepayers, their businesses, and electric and gas systems.” Fortunately, stakeholders outnumbered environmentalists in a recent meeting, forcing a delay in this harmful legislation. 


U.S. Chamber to Re-Examine Climate Policy That Cost It Members
Jennifer A. Dlouhy,  Bloomberg, September 24, 2019

A decade after companies fled the Chamber of Commerce over its reluctance to combat climate change, the nation’s biggest business lobbying group is taking a fresh look at the issue. The chamber on Tuesday announced the formation of a “task force on climate action,” meant to examine how the phenomenon is affecting member companies’ business decisions and how they are approaching climate policy. The open-ended initiative — modeled after a similar effort on data privacy — could spur a shift in the chamber’s approach to environmental policy.  As the nation’s largest business trade association, with a nearly $200 million annual budget, the chamber’s approach to the issue carries weight in Washington.  “The number of companies that are thinking about this and taking actions on their own has just grown tremendously in the past few years,” said Neil Bradley, the group’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. This new group could help the chamber in “getting to the bottom of a solution that ultimately works for the entirety of the business community.”

Our Take:  Great move by the chamber! 


Capturing VOCs Emissions – and Methane
Mark Green, API Energy Blog, September 24, 2019

A key factor in EPA’s recent decision not to directly regulate methane is the simple fact that existing regulation of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas and oil production also reduces methane as a co-benefit.  It might surprise some, but on this point current EPA officials are aligned with their agency predecessors under President Obama.  As discussed here, EPA’s recently proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) modifications – to reduce duplication with state programs and clarify regulatory compliance for industry – not only make sense, they could further lower methane and other emissions and protect the environment.  Still, the decision was met with claims EPA was retreating from environmental protections. However, improving regulation and fostering greater clarity for working to comply with regulation is smart and promotes desired outcomes.

Our Take:  Reducing regulations can be good:  “while some keep pressing for separate methane regulation, those emissions are being reduced as a co-benefit of existing VOCs regulation, negating the need for another layer of government regulation.”

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Fossil Fuels First! Democrat calls out Ocasio-Cortez for fake fracking news. 

September 24, 2019 | Posted in : News

Save the Planet? Try Fossil Fuels First
Robert J. Bradley, Jr., Inside Sources, September 23, 2019

It’s time to panic, says Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. The British royal fears that climate change could threaten our very existence unless the international community develops a sweeping plan to slash carbon-dioxide emissions. He recently warned, “the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels.”  Stateside, calls for a Green New Deal, premised on a looming climate crisis, have turned one of America’s two major political parties against all fossil fuels, even natural gas. But Democrats fail to mention that economic freedom, human ingenuity and affordable energy have done much to minimize the adverse effects of weather extremes and climate change. Climate-related deaths, in fact, have fallen 95 percent globally in the last century.  And the United States has curbed carbon emissions by scaling up our reliance on natural gas. Global carbon-dioxide emissions have risen 50 percent in the last 30 years, but U.S. emissions hover near 30-year lows.

Our Take: While natural gas consumed by power plants rose 77 percent from 2005 to 2016, carbon emissions dropped almost 25 percent.


Democrat Slams Ocasio-Cortez’s Fracking Claim: ‘We Do Ourselves No Favors When We Ignore Science’
Jason Hopkins, The Daily Caller, September 23, 2019

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a “fracking” site in Colorado and tweeted out a video that purported to show it was releasing toxic emissions.
  • However, several hydraulic fracturing experts noted that no fracking was actually taking place at the rig, and that the camera was not showing emissions, but heat signatures.
  • A Democratic politician tweeted back at Ocasio-Cortez, telling her that “we do ourselves no favors” when Democrats deny facts and science.

Our Take: We have yet to see this reported anywhere in the mainstream media. 


Valdez and environmental law group both ask more time to comment on draft EIS
Larry Persily, Oil and Gas News Briefs, September 23, 2019

The city of Valdez, which wants to see the Alaska LNG terminal built in its community rather than Nikiski, and an environmental legal organization have filed separate requests with federal regulators asking additional time to comment on the draft environmental impact statement for the project.     Unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission changes the deadline, public comments on the draft EIS are due Oct. 3. The 3,800-page environmental review was issued June 28, and FERC held public meetings Sept. 9-12 in eight communities across Alaska to accept comments on the draft.   Valdez and Trustees for Alaska, an Anchorage-based environmental law group reviewing the EIS for several clients, asked in separate filings that FERC extend the comment deadline 30 days past the closing date or 30 days after the state project team submits the last of detailed information requested by FERC, whichever is later.

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World doesn’t sneeze when Saudis catch cold. Youth leaders on Climate Change ignored.   

September 23, 2019 | Posted in : News

More Fracking, or More War?
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, September 22, 2019

Here is a news lead that begins with a bang and ends with a whimper: “The strike on the heartland of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, including damage to the world’s biggest petroleum processing industry, has driven oil prices to their highest level in” — here, Reuters should have used some ellipses for  irony — “nearly four months.”  FOUR MONTHS!

If the United States declines to go to war against Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia, our increasingly troublesome client state, one of the reasons for that happy development will be: because we do not need to. It is no longer the case that the world sneezes when the Saudis catch a cold.


Greta Thunberg Leads Young People in Climate Complaint to UN
Bloomberg, September 23, 2019

  • 16 children accuse France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey of ignoring climate science
  • United Nations panel will now determine whether complaint is actionable

A group of 16 children, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, filed a legal complaint with the United Nations Sept. 23, accusing five countries of not doing enough to combat climate change.  The panel to which the children are appealing, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, will now determine whether the complaint is actionable. If so, it will ask France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey to respond. Its suggestions aren’t legally binding.  The children, ranging in age from eight to 17, say those five nations have known about the risks of climate change for decades, but aren’t curbing emissions and are continuing to promote fossil fuels.

Our Take:  While media around the world fawned over Greta, they ignored other young climate leaders testifying before Congress from the American Conservation Coalition.  The American Conservation Coalition (ACC) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to re-engage on environmental conversations. ACC was founded in June 2017 by a group of conservative millennials who saw a gap in the conservative movement when it came to the environment. ACC believes that economic and environmental success can go hand in hand, and conservatives should champion this message and take a seat at the table in discussions concerning conservation, clean energy, sportsmen’s rights, agriculture, climate, and much more. Where other environmental groups have disenfranchised those who are right-of-center, ACC seeks to activate the conservative movement on the grassroots, state, and federal levels — bringing forth bipartisan discussions on environmental topics that impact us all.  Check them out at www.acc.eco.com.


Oil Companies, Pushed to Address Climate, Disagree on How
Rebecca Elliot & Bradley Olson, The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2019

The world’s largest oil-and-gas producers are in general agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from their drilling sites, pipelines and other operations. The companies have set targets to curb releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, for example. They have also discussed new initiatives tied to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reducing emissions from industries such as shipping, according to people familiar with the matter.   But there is friction among some of the companies over whether to commit to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the oil byproducts they sell, such as gasoline. These releases constitute roughly 88% of major oil-and-gas companies’ greenhouse-gas footprint, according to estimates from Redburn, a London-based research firm.


                Oil CEOs push carbon-capture efforts ahead of climate talks

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ACC testifies to Congress: Markets, not Mandates

September 20, 2019 | Posted in : News

We have been closely following the work of the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) over the past months and Headlamp watched with enthusiasm as ACC founder, Benji Backer, testified in Wednesday’s Congressional hearing Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis. The message was clear, and right on par with Headlamp’s assertion: markets, not mandates. To quote Mr. Backer directly, “We can’t ignore this reality. The fact of the matter is we can’t regulate our way out of climate change.”

Mr. Backer championed the position that, “countries leading in emissions reductions have some of the freest economic systems in the world. We can’t ignore this reality. The fact of the matter is….we cannot regulate our way out of climate change. Markets and competition reduce emissions far more than heavy-handed regs.” But also made sure to hold those in power accountable: “To President Trump–Climate science is real…it’s not a hoax. It is accepted that humans are having a negative impact on our climate. …I urge you to accept climate change for the reality it is and to respond accordingly. We need your leadership.”

Members of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus (which includes Alaska legislators Murkowski, Sullivan, and Young) were present in the hearing, and added to the conversation about how best to combat the threat of climate change. Some possible solutions that were mentioned include carbon capture technology and businesses voluntarily implementing sustainable practices.

Yesterday’s hearing was an important step in the movement to bring limited government, practical policy making back into environmental discussions. The takeaway: there is a conservative approach to climate common ground.

Watch the full hearing. Photos courtesy of the ACC team.

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Unions side with EPA for jobs; Customer casualties in pipeline wars

September 19, 2019 | Posted in : News

Major Unions Side With EPA in Power Rule Repeal Challenge
Bloomberg Environment, September 18, 2019

A group of unions are backing the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan, telling the D.C. Circuit their members’ jobs, wages, and benefits will suffer without the rollback of the plan.  New York is leading a coalition of 20-plus blue states and cities challenging the EPA’s decision to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The plan was an ambitious one meant to mitigate climate change head on by capping pollution emitted by coal-fired electricity plants, they said when they filed their suit challenging the Trump administration’s policy call.


Casualties in fight over new gas pipelines: The customers
Mary Esch, Associated Press, September 18, 2019

Chris Miles and his partners were ready to open their new seaside barbecue joint just in time for the summer season when they got stunning news: There would be no gas to fuel the fryers, griddles and stoves.  National Grid, the utility that serves the Rockaway Beach section of Queens, refused to turn on natural gas service. It had declared a moratorium on new hookups after the state rejected an application for a new pipeline in May.  Unless that pipeline or others were built, the utility said, there simply wouldn’t be enough gas to serve additional customers.  “It was hard to believe,” said Miles, co-owner of Batesy’s restaurant. “We had spent a year and a half of our lives and invested our hard-earned money to bring something to the community, and this giant corporation was standing in the way.”


How Congress and the feds can improve natural gas pipeline safety

San Jose moves to ban natural gas in new residential buildings


Attack in Saudi Arabia highlights Alaska’s diminishing role on the global oil stage
Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk, September 18, 2019

Over the weekend, attacks on an oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia knocked out more than 5% of the world’s daily oil production.  It was the biggest disruption of global oil supply in decades.  Politically, the attacks have generated a lot of momentum. And, briefly, oil prices spiked.  In Alaska, that meant that on Monday, Sept. 16, North Slope crude prices jumped to their highest level in more than two months.  But that jump was short-lived, and the incident hasn’t had a lasting impact on oil prices — or what those prices are predicted to be in the future.

Our Take: Alaska may have a smaller role on the global oil stage, but their role in Alaska and in America’s drive towards energy independence should not be underestimated. Oil in Alaska is still providing 65-70% of the revenue we use to fund state government. Alaska should be doing everything it can to promote a stable business climate for the industry. 

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Energy disruptors? Murkowski on Mining; “Hilcorp dominates BlueCrest innovates”

September 18, 2019 | Posted in : News

Energy Disruptors see seismic effects from attack on Saudi oil
Chris Varcoe, Calgary Herald, September 18, 2019

At a Calgary conference called Energy Disruptors, it seemed appropriate that Ed Crooks began his speech Tuesday talking about a disruptive event that could have implications for oil producers and consumers around the world. The surprising attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil processing centre on Saturday sent shock waves throughout global oil markets, with crude prices charging higher on Monday, before tumbling back on Tuesday.  Crooks, the vice-chair of energy in the Americas for consultancy Wood Mackenzie, called the attack an “absolutely momentous day for the oil market,” one that underscores some of the risks facing the sector.  “There has been quite a profound shift in people’s understanding of the global oil market, what’s been a hidden-in-plain-sight (issue) of the vulnerability of world oil supplies due to the disruption in Saudi Arabia,” he told the crowd.  “That’s going to be something that people are going to be thinking about very deeply . . . for years to come.”


Murkowski: To Lead In Clean Energy, We Must Lead In Minerals
September 17, 2019,  Congressional Hearing

“Minerals are the fundamental building blocks for any modern technology, but they don’t just appear out of thin air,” Murkowski said. “As our energy sector transitions to greater use of renewables, we must acknowledge that these technologies are built from materials that come from the ground. Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver gallium, indium, tellurium; and wind turbines are not just built from steel, but also aluminum, copper, and rare earth elements.”  During the hearing, Murkowski released a report compiled by the Congressional Research Service that compares global forecasts for minerals used in renewable technologies. One study, from the World Bank, projects that demand for certain minerals would increase by 1,200 percent under a scenario that aggressively reduces global greenhouse gas emissions.  “The United States is capable of being a leader in the development of the minerals needed for clean energy technologies. We have incredible high-grade deposits in states like Alaska, but we have also ceded production, manufacturing, and recycling to our competitors,” Murkowski said. “We have to find the political will to advance policies that allow us to rebuild a robust domestic supply chain. Until we do that, our nation’s ability to develop and lead the world in renewable energy will be limited.”

Our Take:  500,000 lbs. of mining required to get materials for the battery for one electric car.  We can accomplish that safely and responsibly in America and Alaska– or in other countries that have loose environmental and labor laws.  You make the call. 


Movers and Drillers in Cook Inlet
Isaac Stone Simonelli, Alaska Business, September 2019

Hilcorp Energy continues to dominate the oil exploration scene in Cook Inlet—it’s the only company to put in a bid on the State of Alaska’s annual Cook Inlet basin oil and gas lease sale for the third consecutive year.  The Houston-based company that specializes in mature fields spent $190,350 on three lease tracts totaling 10,286 acres earlier this year, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Oil and Gas.  “We are pleased to see bid activity in the Cook Inlet lease sale,” DNR Deputy Commissioner Sara Longan said in a prepared statement earlier this year. “We recognize the focus of investment has been on the North Slope in recent years. Nevertheless, significant investment is made to sustain current Cook Inlet production, while exploration activities continue to inform and support future development.”

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No substitute for USA  energy production;  China’s economic slump; AK’s gas hydrates. 

September 17, 2019 | Posted in : News

Oil prices plunge after report of quick Saudi production return after attacks
Ben Geman, Axios, September 17, 2019

Crude oil prices fell sharply Tuesday, reversing some of their major increases over recent days, after Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia will quickly restore output lost during attacks on its facilities over the weekend.  Why it matters: The report, if borne out, will ease fears of a prolonged outage from the strikes against a massive processing facility and oil field in OPEC’s largest producer and the world’s largest crude oil exporter. Where it stands: Reuters says that the kingdom is “close to restoring 70% of the 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) production lost following the attacks,” citing a “top Saudi source.” The same source expects full restoration in 2-3 weeks.  By the numbers: The global benchmark Brent crude quickly fell after the report and is now down $4 to $63.65 per barrel, a 6% slide, via OilPrice.com. West Texas Intermediate, the key U.S. contract, similarly slid by several dollars and is back under $60 per barrel.  What’s next: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is scheduled to give a press conference around 1:15 pm ET.

Our Take: “These attacks are a reminder that there is no substitute for American energy production, which has grown into a stabilizing force for world markets.”  Senator Lisa Murkowski 


From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS LOOK FOR ADVANTAGE IN FOSSIL FUEL FIGHT IN AFTERMATH OF SAUDI OIL ATTACKS: Democrats and Republicans are looking to use the Saudi oil strike to make their case for the future of fossil fuels in America.

Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Monday he plans to reintroduce legislation reinstating the four-decade crude oil export ban lifted under by Congress under the Obama administration.

“Efforts to upend oil markets in the Middle East underscore the need to end our reliance on oil,” Markey said. “Energy independence won’t be found in a Saudi oil field, but in an American solar farm,” he added, plugging his Green New Deal resolution that would transition the U.S. to 100% clean, renewable, and zero-emitting energy.

Yes, but it could have been worse, Republican say: Republicans and industry allies say the shale boom has protected the U.S. from big energy price spikes, with the U.S. becoming the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

“For anyone wondering why so many of us believe that American supply matters, now you know,” said Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, speaking at a hearing Tuesday morning.

The American Petroleum Institute promoted an op-ed by its chief economist Dean Foreman on Monday touting the trade group’s monthly oil market report to be introduced this week that will show U.S. oil production set new records at 12.3 million barrels per day.

“For a second year in a row, the U.S. has supplied virtually all global growth in oil demand — and now can backstop global oil markets during a potential crisis,” Foreman writes.


China Faces Broad Economic Slump as It Seeks Trade Fix With U.S.
Liyan Qi, Grace Zhu, Lin Zhu, The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2019

Economic activity in China cooled further in August, testing Beijing’s tolerance for slower growth as it seeks to ease trade tensions with the U.S.  Softness was visible last month in nearly every aspect of the Chinese economy, with industrial output and retail sales data pointing to sluggish demand and low confidence among businesses and consumers. Economists had been expecting economic activity to have recovered a little from July, when it fell to its lowest level in more than a decade.  Value-added industrial output in China rose 4.4% in August from a year earlier, far below economists’ expectations of 5.2% growth and slower than the 4.8% increase in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.


USGS Updates Gas Hydrate Assessment for North Slope
Alaska Business, September 11, 2019

The Alaska North Slope contains an estimated 53.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas hydrate resources, according to a new assessment by the US Geological Survey.  This estimate is for the undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas resources stored within gas hydrate formations.  “The USGS is committed to providing the most up-to-date, publicly available, peer-reviewed estimates of the nation’s energy resources,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program.  “As more information becomes available, we sometimes need to revise our assessments to ensure they reflect the best available science.”  This assessment updates a 2008 USGS assessment that estimated about 85 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources within gas hydrates of the Alaska North Slope. That assessment was the first-ever estimate of technically recoverable gas resources within gas hydrate.

Our Take: Smaller volumes than predicted in 2008, existing technology can produce the resource. Read the full assessment here.

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