Alaska’s 2018 Primary election:
The deadline has come and gone. Here is the detail of who is running.
PIPELINE CEO SAYS STEEL TARIFFS UNJUST
Greg Armstrong, the CEO of Plains All American Pipeline, said Monday morning that Trump’s steel tariffs are “unjust,” and warned that higher costs could stall projects. “Steel tariffs in our view are unjust,” Armstrong said at the Energy Information Administration’s annual energy conference.
No domestic source: The type of steel used in pipelines is a niche market, and most domestic steel producers have left the pipeline market because of its high cost. Armstrong said Trump’s 25 percent tariff could drive up the cost for U.S. oil and natural pipelines because pipeline makers rely on steel from overseas that will be more expensive to import.
“We don’t think we should pay steel tariffs for something we can’t buy in the U.S.” Armstrong said.
Nervous over quotas: But Armstrong, who is chairman of the National Petroleum Council, said pipeline producers can “tolerate” the tariffs. He’s more worried about the possibility of import quotas of steel.
The Trump administration announced last week it is imposing steel tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada, after previously giving those allies an exemption. The administration has said it could ease up on tariffs if countries agree to quotas, restricting how much steel they export to the U.S. The Trump administration has already reached deals with South Korea, Brazil, Australia and Argentina, which agreed to limit their steel shipments. “We can tolerate the tariffs, but the quotas are a problem,” Armstrong said. “Eighty percent of a pipeline doesn’t do us any good. It’s like building half a bridge.”
Big Oil teeters between enemy and ally in climate fight
Axios, Amy Harder, June 4, 2018
The new flashpoint in the climate change debate is over the role of oil companies — whether they’re culprits, allies, or something of a frenemy. Why it matters: The burning of fossil fuels these companies produce is a big reason Earth’s temperature is rising, yet their products are also foundations of the global economy. Whether you love or hate them, what role these companies play is inherent to addressing climate change, particularly in the absence of presidential leadership on the issue.
Our Take: It’s good to see someone who considers fossil fuels an enemy acknowledging their role in the global economy. Comments are due today on the draft action plan prepared by Governor Walker’s climate action leadership team. Click here for more information and to provide comments.
Schlumberger in OneLNG exit
Upstream, June 4, 2018
Schlumberger has decided to pull the plug on its OneLNG joint venture with Golar LNG due to the failure of efforts to find funding for the proposed Fortuna liquefied natural gas project off Equatorial Guinea. Golar confirmed in its first-quarter results statement that “it has not been possible to finalize an attractive debt financing package” after concerted efforts by the partnership together with project operator Ophir Energy.
Rising oil prices bring hope to gloomy Canada sector
Reuters, Rod Nickel and Julie Gordon, May 31, 2018
Years of low oil prices and high costs spurred a stampede by multinational majors out of Canada’s oil sands last year, leaving the remaining crude producers struggling to weather painful drops in profit. Environmentalists derided the “tar sands” as too dirty for investment, and analysts said the region’s high production costs made little sense in a world of $50-a-barrel oil. But this month, global benchmark prices rebounded to $80 per barrel, cheering oil executives in the Canadian energy capital of Calgary, Alberta, who are shifting from survival mode to cautious expansion to capitalize on healthier cash flow expected this year.
Our Take: Even “cautious expansion” produces jobs and boosts the economy.
Former Alaska senator jumps into governor race
The Hill, Max Greenwood, June 2, 2018
Former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is throwing his name into the race for the Alaska governor’s mansion. Begich, who served in the Senate from 2009 until 2015, made his plans official on Friday just before the candidate filing deadline. The announcement throws up an obstacle to Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, who is seeking reelection this year.
Our Take: The governor’s race is critical to the future of responsible resource development in our state. It’s important to know who will help the oil, gas and mining industries and who will hurt them. Governor Walker and Senator Begich have both clearly stated their opposition to the Pebble Mine, prior to the project going through the permitting process. #nothelping
Interior asking public not ‘if’, but ‘how’ to allow drilling in ANWR
KTOO Public Media, Elizabeth Harball, May 31, 2018
Public meetings on oil lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are drawing intense interest from Alaskans across the state. Last night over 100 protesters gathered outside the Anchorage meeting. At the meeting, officials said the Trump administration must move forward with oil lease sales in ANWR. The Department of Interior’s Joe Balash said that’s because of specific language in the law Congress passed last year allowing drilling in ANWR. “The statutory provisions say, ‘DOI shall’,” Balash said.
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
OIL INDUSTRY ‘DEEPLY DISCOURAGED’ BY TRUMP’S NEW TARIFFS
The oil industry’s lead trade group said it is “deeply discouraged” by President Trump’s Thursday decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. “We are deeply discouraged by the administration’s actions to impose tariffs on our three closest trading partners,” said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. The industry views the decision “as a step in the wrong direction,” he said. The oil and natural gas group has been pushing hard against tariffs proposed by Trump, including those imposed on $150 billion of Chinese products, because of the industry’s dependence on dozens of imports
Our Take: Senator Sullivan’s opposition to this speaks volumes “right strategy, wrong target.”
US Senate Democrats ask Trump to act on rising gasoline prices
Oil and Gas Journal, Nick Snow, May 25, 2018
Four US Senate Democrats, including Ranking Minority Member Charles E. Schumer (NY) and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Minority Member Maria E. Cantwell (Wash.), have asked President Donald Trump to act in response to rising gasoline prices as the summer driving season gets under way. “Today, we call on you to use all your authority to take timely action to pressure the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and cooperating countries to increase world oil supplies to lower prices at the pump,” they said in a May 23 letter, which also was signed by Sens. Edward J. Markey (Mass.) and Robert Menendez (NJ).
Our Take: Go Senator Murkowski!! “This is pretty simple. If you don’t support access, leasing, production, pipelines, refineries, or the reasonable regulation of all of those, you’ll be left at the mercy of countries that don’t like us,” Murkowski maintained in her response to the group.
Sen. Cantwell presses Army Corps to add Pebble hearings in Washington state
Anchorage Daily News, Erica Martinson, May 31, 2018
Sen. Maria Cantwell wants the Army Corps of Engineers to expand its public meetings discussing the potential scope of Pebble mine to include events in her state, Washington. Cantwell wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James on Thursday asking for additional meetings in Washington so that her constituents can weigh in on the proposed gold and copper mine planned for the headwaters area of Bristol Bay.
Our Take: Maria Cantwell still leads the field in “Enemy Number One” to Alaska: If her good friend, Mark Begich, files for Governor today, perhaps he can be convinced to ask her to stay out of Alaska’s business, or better yet, stop inviting her here for fundraisers?
Is A Natural Gas Pipeline Between Alaska And China Realistic?
Oil Price.com, Irina Slav, May 31, 2018
When Alaska’s governor Bill Walker headed with a trade delegation to China earlier this week, he must have hoped to bring back good news about an 800-mile gas pipeline project that would see the state’s gas reserves flow into an increasingly gas-hungry Chinese economy. However, the only news the delegation brought home was that Sinopec and Bank of China were still interested in the project.
AOGA’s Great Debate Conference highlights key issues in Governor’s race
KTUU, Derek Minemyer, May 31, 2018
At an event foreshadowing the continued role of energy production in Alaska politics, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association held its Great Debate Conference at the Dena’ina Center Thursday, where gubernatorial candidates squared off against each other for screen time, armed to the teeth with well-rehearsed, pro-development talking points.
Our Take: AKHEADLAMP attended the event – when the candidates were asked if they would commit to opposing any increases in oil taxes, Dunleavy and Hawkins said “yes” immediately – Governor Walker wouldn’t make the commitment.
Natural Gas Weekly Update
U.S. Energy Information Administration, May 31, 2018
In April 2018, Bangladesh became the newest country to begin imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In the next two years, six more countries—Panama, Gibraltar, Russia, Philippines, Ghana, and Bahrain—are expected to start importing LNG, adding a combined 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of new regasification import capacity
Our Take: 7 new countries importing LNG is good news for the Alaska LNG project – the more the merrier.
|Mike Chenault for Govern|
It is with the deepest regret that I am announcing my withdrawal from the 2018 Republican race for Governor. There are several factors that led to my decision not to pursue the Governor’s office, most are personal and there are other reasons I would rather not discuss. I enjoyed the time I spent traveling around the state, making new acquaintances and meeting so many Alaskans who love our state and share the same passion I have of seeing our state become prosperous once again. Again, I truly appreciate those who lent their support to my campaign and thank those who spent the time to let me know of their concerns and ideas.
Our Take: Best wishes! Thank you for all that you have done for Alaska. It will seem strange in Juneau without you there.
Federal effort to prepare for ANWR lease sale draws big crowd in Anchorage
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, May 30, 2018
More than 130 people gathered outside an Anchorage convention center Wednesday to protest the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, as the federal government took public comment inside the building to prepare for a lease sale in the refuge. During early testimony in the Dena’ina Center, some speakers expressed support for leasing, saying oil production from the 19-million-acre refuge would help the state’s petroleum-dependent economy and government.
Our Take: Hats off to Alliance member Steve Post, vice president of North Star Terminal and Stevedore, which provides dock loading services, for representing Alaskans who work in the oil and gas industry with his comments about opening ANWR: “In favor of opening ANWR because: Jobs! Energy! National security!”
Alaska’s China trade mission wraps up with no big gasline news
KTOO Public Media, Rashah McChesney, May 30, 2018
The Bank of China hosted a reception for the delegation — that’s the state-owned bank that could help finance the $45 billion pipeline project. Walker and the delegation also met with Sinopec, the giant state-owned oil and gas company that could be a partner. And the president said that he looked forward to continuing to study the feasibility of the project with Alaska. Then he said this: “After some of the work we did, in terms of assessment and evaluation in technology, economics and in terms of the resources of Sinopec — I think there’s a lot more work for us to be done than originally imagined.”
ConocoPhillips takes Leiv Eiriksson
Upstream, May 31, 2018
Ocean Rig has secured a fresh contract for its semi-submersible rig Leiv Eiriksson with ConocoPhillips under a newly minted frame agreement with the US supermajor. The rig has been taken on a 90-day contract for one firm well, with options for two additional wells, to be drilled off Norway that is set to start in the second half of 2019. No value was disclosed for the deal, though the dayrate for the harsh-environment unit is likely to be higher than that under its current contract with Lundin Petroleum, which was previously reported at around $150,000. It follows the signing of the so-called master services agreement with ConocoPhillips to provide offshore drilling services off Norway over a firm three-year period, with an optional two-year extension.
Many media outlets omitted key facts about the BLM scoping meeting in Fairbanks last night for their notice of intent to prepare an EIS for opening ANWR.
The Fairbanks Daily News Miner (FDNM) headline “Locals speak out against ANWR drilling” is the most misleading description we found, so far. (The newspaper only covered the public portion, avoiding the presented and invited testimony that was balanced)
What the FDNM and other outlets failed to tell you?
- Doors opened at 3:00pm for an open house and to hand out comment cards
- Opponents to the lease sale arrived early by bus, took 50 comment cards, left, and returned at 6:30pm for the public comment period
- Only one person who supported ANWR could testify (#51) since the first 50 comment cards had been taken by opponents and time ran out
- The invited testimony was very balanced with the Mayor of Wainright and three different labor unions – Teamsters, Laborers, IBEW- testifying in support
So now you know the rest of the story. Here is a different perspective from someone who attended the entire meeting:
“As a life-long Alaskan raised in Fairbanks, I flew up to the “Golden Heart City” to present personal testimony supporting proposed lease sales on the coastal plain of ANWR. The hearing was painful and did not represent the view of many Alaskans. Hundreds attended the packed hearing at the Carlson Center and we were outnumbered 50-1 in testimony. I arrived 20 minutes after the doors opened at 3:00 p.m., more than three hours before public testimony was to begin. I signed up to testify, but learned I was number 52 on the list of those wishing to speak. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to testify as time ran out.
It’s Anchorage’s turn tonight, expect more of the same: a coordinated effort by opponents to get there early while others are at work, take enough comment cards to prevent others from testifying and media coverage that focuses on the opposition while ignoring the supporters.
China vows to protect its interests from ‘reckless’ U.S. trade threats
Reuters, Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard, May 29, 2018
China lashed out on Wednesday at renewed threats from the White House on trade, warning that it was ready to fight back if Washington was looking for a trade war, days ahead of a planned visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. In an unexpected change in tone, the United States said on Tuesday that it still held the threat of imposing tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China unless it addressed the issue of theft of American intellectual property. Washington also said it will press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States as well as export controls for goods exported to China.
Our Take: Alaskans take note. The picture painted by the Governor’s office implying that Alaska LNG is immune to the politics between the two countries, is, well, politics. The federal government is serious about restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States. Trust but verify what you are being told or sold. Most Alaskans want an LNG project, one that is commercially viable and provides a benefit to the state and its residents.
Ottawa buying out Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, taking over expansion
Business In Vancouver, Nelson Bennett, May 29, 2018
Every Canadian, even those who are opposed to it, now own the Trans Mountain pipeline, or will very soon. The federal government announced Tuesday morning May 29 that it will buy out Kinder Morgan Canada’s (TSX:KML) Trans Mountain pipeline and take over its $7.4 billion pipeline twinning project. It will then try to flip it. Ottawa will pay $4.5 billion to buy Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline and indemnify the $7.4 billion twinning project. The Alberta government will also provide $2 billion in emergency funding to cover unforeseen costs.
Our Take: Alaskans take note part two. As mentioned in the story, Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for at least $12 billion, should the Canadian government not find a buyer-developer willing to take on the project and be forced to build the project itself. Sound familiar?
Lt. Gov. Mallott views growth in energy sector as Alaska’s future
Alaska Public Media, Kayla Desroches, May 29, 2018
Mallott dropped by Kodiak last week for a fundraising event, and in an interview with KMXT, said Alaska needs to focus on transitioning from a fossil-fuel based economy to more renewable resources, like hydro and wind power. Mallott said it could take a while to make that switch. “I expect that it will be a combination of the market place for such fuels and public policy that will drive that timing, and that has really not come into focus yet, certainly at the national level,” Mallott said. Mallott says it’s vital to the state’s economy to diversify its industries and, within those industries, to branch out. It’s the same for energy.
Our Take: It’s good to see the chairman of the state’s Climate Action team acknowledge the role of the market place in the energy economy.
BLM holds meetings for Alaskans to weigh in on ANWR oil and gas leasing
KTUU, Derek Minemyer, May 29, 2018
The Bureau of Land Management is hosting public hearings across the state giving Alaskans the chance to weigh in on proposals to lease land in ANWR for oil and gas development — a deeply divisive issue for industry and conservation groups alike. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge represents the largest onshore oil and gas prospect on federal land in the United States, and it could pump an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil from out of the ground and in to state and international markets, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Representatives from both sides of the issue met at a public scoping meeting held by the BLM at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks Tuesday night, where environmental advocates rallied outside.
Our Take: Look for “the rest of the story” in an AKHEADLAMP special edition later today.
North Dakota facing crew challenges
Upstream, May 29, 2018
North Dakota has just enough frack crews to keep up with the number of rigs currently operating mainly in the US state’s prolific Bakken shale formation, with recent regional reports indicating oil patch jobs are hitting their highest levels since July 2015, writes Julia Martinez. However, North Dakota Oil & Gas Division director Lynn Helms said there will not be enough crews to service the 70 drilling rigs that the active fleet could grow to, even though major operators tell him they are doing all they can to hire people.
Our Take: 8 years ago, many Alaskans left the state to work in North Dakota. The opportunity presents itself again.
Exxon shareholders reject proposal to split CEO, chair roles
Reuters, Ernest Scheyder, May 30, 2018
Exxon Mobil Corp shareholders rejected a proposal on Wednesday that would have split the roles of chairman and chief executive, securing CEO Darren Woods’s role as he looks to improve results at the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer. Exxon under Woods has moved aggressively to launch major expansion programs to find and produce new reserves of oil and natural gas, as well as expand the company’s refining and chemical footprint. Woods in March told Wall Street investors that the expansions should help double Exxon’s earnings by 2025 to about $31 billion.
Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again
The New York Times, Emily Flitter, May 28, 2018
Five of the country’s biggest banks are lending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to coal companies again, in one case eclipsing what they lent in 2014, before the industry entered a nose dive, according to an analysis by Rainforest Action Network, a liberal environmental group. JPMorgan’s coal lending increased to $654 million 2017 from $32 million in 2015, according to the analysis. That was more than the $570 million the bank lent to coal interests in 2014. The vast majority of JPMorgan’s coal loans in 2017 were to Peabody, which emerged from bankruptcy that April.
Our Take: The death of coal was greatly exaggerated three years ago when large financial institutions stopped funding. This reversal of policy is good for Alaska and good for America.
China LNG Group buys 275 LNG tank containers
LNG World New, May 28, 2018
Under a strategic cooperation deal between the two companies, China LNG Group agreed to purchase additional 800 to 1,000 LNG tank containers from CIMC Enric by the end of the year, China LNG Group said in a filing to the stock exchange. In addition, the group has agreed to purchase CIMC Enric produced cryogenic equipment such as LNG refueling trucks, LNG Dewar flasks and other products.
Walker talks budget fix during Homer visit
Homer News, Megan Pacer, May 23, 2018
During a visit to Homer last Thursday, Gov. Bill Walker touted a relieved, cautiously optimistic message: Alaska is on the mend, fiscally. Walker’s talk at the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and an interview with the Homer News was part of a post-Legislature tour by state officials. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director Ken Alper also spoke at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for a chamber brown-bag luncheon.
Our Take: In response to a question about his stance on the Pebble mine, Governor Walker claimed that the entire Bristol Bay fishery could be lost. Facts matter, especially when you are asking the people of Alaska to re-elect you. We’d like to see the data that led to this wild, inaccurate statement but have a sneaking feeling that there isn’t any.
Arctic refuge production likely to hit 880,000 b/d: EIA
Argus, May 24, 2018
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could double Alaska’s oil production even under conservative estimates of the area’s resource base, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Oil production from the refuge would peak at 560,000 b/d in 2039 if the resource is only 5.7bn bl, EIA said yesterday. That is twice as much as is currently produced in the state and would cause throughput on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to approach 1.1mn b/d, a level that last occurred nearly two decades ago.
Our Take: Lots of naysayers about ANWR’s potential – the EIA is a nonpartisan, well respected agency. Filling the pipeline isn’t a pipe dream.
New EID Video/Digital Campaign Launches Ahead of Climate Panel Focused on Boulder Climate Lawsuit
Energy In Depth, Spencer Walrath, May 24, 2018
A new Energy in Depth digital short launching today provides the facts and information on why the Boulder climate lawsuit is simply the wrong approach for Colorado. The video features key Colorado voices pushing back against the suit and shows how Colorado’s energy industry is helping grow the economy while improving the environment. The video launches the day before an event sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that will take a deeper dive into the lawsuit itself and the ramifications for Colorado manufacturers.
Our Take: Facts matter part 2: “the state’s leading newspaper has criticized the lawsuit. In an editorial, the Denver Post wrote: “Such lawsuits are especially unfortunate in a state like Colorado where tens of thousands of people work in a vibrant energy industry and understandably do not consider themselves engaged in a malignant occupation. And yet when the companies they work for are stigmatized and even demonized for engaging in commerce still critical to our economy, by extension so are they.” This scenario certainly could be applied to Alaska where tens of thousands of people work in a vibrant energy industry.
Reuters, Katya Golubkova, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Rania El Gamal, May 24, 2018
Saudi Arabia and Russia are discussing raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by some 1 million barrels a day, sources said, while OPEC’s chief said a complaint from U.S. President Donald Trump over high prices had triggered the idea of upping output. OPEC began a discussion about easing production cuts following a critical tweet from Trump, OPEC’s Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said. Trump tweeted last month that OPEC had “artificially” boosted oil prices.
Our Take: Is OPEC really making economic decisions in response to a tweet from President Trump?
Bloomberg, Faye Flam, May 25, 2018
It starts with a dash of temptation. Stir in some rationalization and deception. The final and key ingredient is: stupid systems with perverse incentives. Horrible bosses can cause misery in any kind of business, but in science, they wield uniquely destructive power. In a recent survey compiled by the journal Nature, a number of young scientists reported that they felt pressured to find “particular results” that would presumably please their bosses, as opposed to the truth. That’s a problem for society at large, since it degrades the integrity of research that we’re supporting.
Op-Ed: Attorneys general as political ambulance chasers: America’s energy policy should be decided by legislation, not litigation
Legal News Line, George Brauchler, May 24, 2018
There is a new phenomenon sweeping America. Attorneys general have become ideological ambulance chasers, racing to court to file politically motivated lawsuits seeking to mandate policies too extreme and unpopular to win the support of Congress, state legislatures, or the public. This is best highlighted by recent politically motivated climate change lawsuits. Cities and counties in Colorado and Washington state are the latest to join California and New York City in a misguided crusade against America’s energy manufacturers. Their lawsuits castigate individual companies — some of whom do not even operate in the cities or states suing them — for global climate change, solely to impose financial penalties to justify perceived harm.
Our Take: Policy decided by legislation not litigation! Every time you see “Colorado” in this quote – replace it with “Alaska.” “These lawsuits may clamor about climate change, but they do little to improve the environment or protect Colorado’s greatness. Instead, these lawsuits dramatically increase costs for Colorado’s families and businesses, while enriching trial lawyers on both sides of the issue. I believe it is important to protect my state’s environment. But endlessly suing lawful businesses to attempt policy change is not the Colorado way.” Trustees for Alaska and the Alaska Center (who dropped the “for the environment” from their name) fit well in the category of ideological ambulance chasers.
Zinke, Burgum tout innovation over regulation at oil conference
Bismarck Tribune, Amy Dalrymple, May 23, 2018
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum shared similar visions Wednesday for regulating oil development, focused on partnering with industry to spur innovation. “I don’t think the government should be in a position to be an adversary,” Zinke said as he delivered the keynote speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. “We have to, as Interior, be a better partner. We have to work with industry.”
Our Take: Innovation over regulation in the oil and gas industry. Partners not adversaries. Nuff said.
High Tech Mining in the Gold Belt
Barrick, May 23, 2018
An immersive website experience created by Barrick Gold gives users a sense of how the mining sector is not only evolving, but leading innovative practices across the globe.
Transboundary mine meeting includes State Department, B.C. reps
KTOO Public Media, Ed Schoenfeld, May 23, 2018
Alaskans concerned about possible impacts of British Columbia mines on cross-border rivers will get an update during a June 1 meeting in Juneau. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will host the third annual transboundary mining meeting. Mallott aide Albert Kookesh said officials from the federal, state and British Columbia governments will attend. So will tribal, industrial, environmental, fisheries and other leaders. He said this year’s meeting will allow more time for discussion than previous gatherings. “This is a chance for stakeholders, people who are interested in those types of transboundary issues, to come and talk to the powers that be, if you want to say it that way,” he said.
Our Take: This would be a great opportunity for the Lt. Governor to educate folks about the many ways modern-day miners use technology and data to make their operations safer, more productive and more sustainable, as highlighted by Hal Quinn of the National Mining Association.
China’s Sinopec to boost U.S. crude imports to all-time high: sources
Reuters, Florence Tan, May 23, 2018
Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, will boost U.S. crude oil imports to an all-time high as China tries to reduce its trade deficit with the United States, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. The company’s trading arm Unipec has bought 16 million barrels, or about 533,000 barrels per day (bpd), of U.S. crude to load in June, they said, the largest volume ever to be lifted in a month by the company. “The government has encouraged us to lift more U.S. crude,” one of the sources said.
Our Take: Just a reminder to our readers that Sinopec is a potential partner for the Alaska LNG project.
88 Energy to reenter Icewine well to test production capacity
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, May 23, 2018
88 Energy is getting ready to test the production capacity of its latest North Slope exploration well as it evaluates seismic data that could lead to more drilling. The small Australian independent explorer plans to reenter the Icewine-2 well on June 11. After pressure gauges are retrieved from down the wellbore, the company will employ a nitrogen lift to recover up to 4,000 barrels of drilling and other fluids from the reservoir before production tests begin, according to a May 21 release on its upcoming operations.
Successful Slope season stirs optimism at DNR
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, May 23, 2018
Alaska’s top resource managers believe a successful exploration season could signal the dawn of a renaissance on the North Slope. Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack said that ConocoPhillips going “six-for-six” and finding commercial quantities of oil in all the exploration wells it drilled last winter is not only encouraging for the company, but for the long-term future of the state as well. “I think what we see is the success rate of drilling wells in the Arctic is really high based on modern technology, really good seismic data, the fact that they’re starting to hone in on the Nanushuk formation. It’s incredibly good news for Alaska,” Mack emphasized in an interview.
Our Take: A renaissance on the North Slope means the quality of life for every Alaskan will improve- more jobs, more money in the economy, more tax revenue for the state. Yes, Commissioner Mack, it is incredibly good news for Alaska. Let’s try not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by creating an unstable business climate.
Craig Medred, May 22, 2018
President Donald Trump may do more to make an Alaska gasline a reality than Gov. Bill Walker could ever have dreamed if a columnist for the website Seeking Alpha is to be believed. Seeking Alpha columnist “Tokyo picker” – non-de-plumes are common on the site – pegs the gasline as a slam dunk if Trump truly hopes to reduce the U.S. balance of trade with China.
Our Take: We agree with Mr. Medred. Don’t buy it yet. “The assessment appears to overlook the fickleness of the President involved and the required review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which has become wary of China exerting financial control over U.S. businesses. CIFUS operates independent of the president. The Walker administration was reportedly told last fall that the gasline project needed to get more U.S. investors involved if it was to satisfy CIFUS that the Chinese weren’t in control of the project.
Trump Backs Away From China Deal Under Pressure by Trade Hawks
Bloomberg Economics, Jenny Leonard and Saleha Mohsin, May 23, 2018
President Donald Trump is backing away from the trade agreement the U.S. just announced with China, under pressure from China hawks among his supporters and in Congress who have assailed the accord as a capitulation.
Our View: #NotWinning. In the words of Senator Marco Rubio and others: “Sadly #China is out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted on Tuesday. “They have avoided tariffs & got a #ZTE deal without giving up anything meaningful.” He added, “This is #NotWinning.” Another critic of the deal, Senator Steve Daines of Montana, lectured Mnuchin during a hearing at the Capitol on Tuesday.
‘You have to fight these things:’ Why two Juneau men are standing in the way of the Alaska Legislature, Gov. Bill Walker and a billion-dollar debt
Juneau Empire, James Brooks, May 22, 2018
The odds are not in their favor. The State of Alaska is against them. So is Gov. Bill Walker. The Alaska Legislature doesn’t side with them, and neither does the state’s oil and gas industry. Nevertheless, Eric Forrer and Joe Geldhof have launched a lonely attempt to defeat a plan that calls for Alaska to borrow up to $1 billion to pay a debt owed to oil and gas drillers. Geldhof, Forrer’s attorney, filed a lawsuit last Monday.
Our Take: It’s like déjà vu all over again…Joe Geldhof attacking the industry.
From today’s Washington Examiner’s, Daily on Energy:
BP ENDS PROJECT IN IRAN AFTER U.S. THREATENS SANCTIONS
BP decided to end its involvement with projects in Iran Tuesday after the U.S. threatened to sanction companies that operate in the country. “JUST IN: British Petroleum is Ending projects in #Iran following threat of US Sanctions. Follows Total, Siemens, Maersk, Allianz, others…,” a reporter for the National, a news source in the United Arab Emirates, tweeted Tuesday morning. Run away: BP is the latest Europe-based company to pull out investment and commitments from Iran following the Trump administration’s plan to re-up sanctions on Iran.
EXXON MOBIL AIMS TO CUT METHANE EMISSIONS BY 15 PERCENT
Exxon Mobil on Wednesday morning announced new greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, aiming to cut its methane emissions 15 percent and flaring 25 percent by 2020 from 2016 levels. The company also announced its intention to improve energy efficiency in refining and chemical manufacturing facilities. Playing a part: Exxon joined other large energy companies last year such as Shell and BP in signing a pledge to reduce emissions of methane from natural gas production, part of an effort by the industry to show it is committed to combating climate change even as the Trump administration rolls back regulations forcing them to. Methane, the main component in natural gas, is more potent than carbon dioxide, although methane emissions are relatively short-lived.
BP to cut more than 500 upstream jobs
Upstream, May 23, 2018
BP will cut 3% of its exploration and production division by year-end, or more than 500 jobs, the UK supermajor said on Tuesday. The move is “aimed at further improving the efficiency and competitiveness of its organization,” a BP spokesperson said in a statement. “This is part of the ongoing process across BP to modernise its business to adopt more efficient ways of working and also to further simplify its organisation and increase efficiency following $50 billion worth of divestments over recent years.” The company’s upstream business employs around 18,000 globally, and BP did not specify what jobs would be cut.
The Alaska LNG Project Gasline Workforce Plan
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, April 2018
The Alaska LNG Project Gasline Workforce Plan identifies the workforce needed to build and operate the project, and it provides a framework to maximize Alaska Hire on this project. Aligning Alaska’s robust statewide training network and making smart investments to expand training for in-demand occupations is critical to ensuring Alaskans are first in line for these jobs.
Our Take: The state shouldn’t spend money on workforce development for this project until a commitment to build it has been signed. Alaskans who work in the industry and live in the real world are skeptical of a 2019 start date for this project, but, if it actually starts within the next two years, there isn’t enough time to develop many of the skills needed. Many of the items listed as action items for the state are beyond their control, especially if China takes the lead on financing and construction. Some people reading this report might see it as a campaign pamphlet for the Governor instead of a practical approach to ensuring that Alaskans are “first in line for these jobs.”
IGU board considers Siemens proposal for alternative natural gas source for Fairbanks
Alaska Public Media, Tim Ellis, May 21, 2018
An affiliate of the Germany-based industrial giant Siemens is offering to build an LNG plant near Wasilla and transport the gas it processes there to Fairbanks at no cost to the Interior Gas Utility – if the IGU board of directors agrees to a long-term LNG-sales contract. Officials with Siemens Government Technologies outlined the proposal to the IGU board during a special meeting Tuesday. IGU board Chairwoman Pam Throop says there’s a lot to like about the Siemens Government Technologies proposal, but she says it all comes down to helping the IGU “get cheap gas real soon so we can get conversions immediately and start building.”
Our Take: An interesting development. Getting “cheap gas real soon” is no easy task. Best wishes to Siemens and IGU in their efforts!
Where Americans are moving for jobs
KTVA, May 21, 2018
As the job market heats up, many Americans are looking to move up — and maybe move out. About a quarter of applications submitted by job seekers were for openings outside the candidate’s metro area, career website Glassdoor found in a report published Friday. The data used in this study are from online job applications on Glassdoor. The sample included more than 120,000 unique users in the 40 largest U.S. metro areas, who applied to more than 600,000 jobs during a typical week from Jan. 8 to Jan. 14, 2018.
Our Take: Alaska isn’t in the top 10 places to look for jobs – not surprising when we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
I think we are on the verge of falling off a cliff with Venezuelan oil…
CNBC, May 21, 2018
Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary LLC, discusses factors affecting the price of oil including supply, demand and infrastructure issues.
BP inks LNG deal with Venture Global
Upstream, May 21, 2018
UK supermajor BP has signed a long-term agreement for 2 million metric tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas from a Louisiana export facility. The 20-year agreement with Venture Global LNG will begin in 2022, when its 1000-acre Calcasieu Pass facility is expected to start operations, and is on a free-on-board basis. To date, Venture Global has contracted a total of 6 million tpa with a range of European players, including Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell, Italy’s Edison and Galp of Portugal.
This analyst says China holds the key for iron ore demand
CNBC, May 21, 2018
Paul Gray of Wood Mackenzie says China’s steel industry continues to show good demand for iron ore but will eventually level off as capacity reaches its “peak.”
From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy
SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES CARBON CAPTURE BILL
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Tuesday morning passed legislation promoting carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies. The “Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act”, sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators, directs the EPA to support research for carbon capture and utilization and direct air capture. It also declares that carbon capture projects and pipelines transporting the collected carbon dioxide are eligible for expedited permitting reviews.