Sighs(job loss), Spies(NGO’s and China) and Modernize(BP analytics)

‘America First’ or coal first? LNG groups want to know
Zack Colman, E & E News, September 4, 2018

As the Trump administration marches forward with its plan to aid economically distressed coal and nuclear power plants, the natural gas industry is looking for recognition from the White House. Frustration has been building between oil and gas companies and the administration. Battles over renewable fuel policy, tariffs on steel that goes into pipelines and a confusing rollout about plans to allow offshore drilling has heightened tensions. While those actions have stirred animosity, none has come close to eliciting the kind of angst stemming from the administration’s proposal to keep ailing electricity generators afloat on national security grounds. It’s a clear loser for the natural gas industry because the plan would extend support to competitors in the power sector. In turn, that could depress booming gas production.

Ex-Alaska AG leads Interior office with focus on Arctic, ‘adaptation’
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media, September 5, 2018

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has a new job at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. Renkes is listed on the Interior Department’s website as the director of the Office of Policy Analysis, signaling a new direction for him and for that office. Renkes was attorney general under then-Gov. Frank Murkowski. In his new position, Renkes leads an office at Interior that deals with Arctic issues, invasive species and what the Trump administration calls “adaptation.” In the previous administration, that program was called “climate change adaptation.”

Alyeska Pipeline to cut 10 percent of workforce
Alex DeMarban, September 5, 2018

The operator of Alaska’s main oil pipeline will reduce its workforce by 10 percent as it reorganizes operations starting this fall, a move that will affect all activities statewide, according to a letter from the company’s top executive to the governor and lawmakers. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which manages the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline and the oil-loading terminal in Valdez, will restructure itself to operate more efficiently, said the letter from company president Tom Barrett dated Tuesday.

Natural Gas News, September 6, 2018

ExxonMobil has signed a cooperation agreement with the government of China’s Guangdong province to build a chemical complex and invest in an LNG terminal, it said September 5. The US supermajor said it will advance discussions concerning the proposed construction of a chemical complex in the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park. The project, which remains subject to a final investment decision (FID), would include a 1.2mn mt/yr ethylene flexible feed steam cracker, two performance polyethylene lines and two differentiated performance polypropylene lines. “ExxonMobil’s decision to proceed with the project will be based on a number of factors, including receipt of permits and project competitiveness. Startup is planned for 2023,” it said.

FERC announces steps to streamline LNG permitting
Hogan Lovells, Lexology, September 5, 2018

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced significant measures to improve permitting for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. These measures follow up on Chairman McIntyre’s statements earlier in July, proclaiming that the agency has taken “truly significant strides in reforming the permitting process.” They also respond to ongoing criticism by Congressional members and industry stakeholders about the agency’s review timelines for these important facilities. In addition to the MOU, FERC announced environmental review schedules for 12 LNG projects, providing the vast majority of them environmental document issuance dates in the first half of 2019 (federal authorizations by other agencies are typically expected to follow within 90 days thereafter). The earliest date is for the Freeport LNG expansion project, whose Environmental Assessment is slated to issue November 2, 2018. The latest date appears to be for the larger Alaska LNG project, whose Environmental Impact Statement is slated to issue November 8, 2019.

BP rolls out analytics system in US Gulf
Katherine Schmidt, Upstream Oil & Gas Online, September 5, 2018

UK supermajor BP has now deployed its Plant Operations Advisor, a predictive analytics system developed with Baker Hughes, across its four operated platforms in the deep-water US Gulf of Mexico. “Built on GE’s Predix platform, POA applies analytics to real-time data from the production system and provides system-level insights to engineers so operational issues on processes and equipment can be addressed before they become significant,” BP said in a statement. “POA helps engineers manage the performance of BP’s offshore assets by further ensuring that assets operate within safe operating limits to reduce unplanned downtime.”

Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, September 5, 2018

Top Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee asked the World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental advocacy group, to turn over documents related to its work with Chinese officials and their advocacy in the U.S. Lawmakers want to know if WRI’s desire to maintain good relations with the Chinese is affecting the group’s U.S. operations and advocacy — effectively making it a foreign agent of the communist government. “WRI’s desire to maintain access to Chinese officials may influence its political activities in the United States,” Republican Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas wrote in a letter to WRI President Andrew Steer sent Wednesday.