A tale of two reclamation policies – Donlin Gold gets it right, again.

State regulator raises bonds required for drilling
Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk, August 28, 2018
The regulator that oversees oil and gas drilling in Alaska wants to increase the bond amount it charges companies that drill in the state.  The bonds are meant to cover the cost of plugging wells and abandoning them. But, in some cases, it’s not enough. For example, the state currently has just one $200,000 bond to cover the cost of plugging and abandoning all of BP’s wells at Prudhoe Bay.  Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner Hollis French says when a company goes bankrupt or stops operating and leaves without plugging its well properly the state is on the hook to pay for cleanu

Our Take: Making sure the state is protected is a good thing –  using BP as an example in a story about companies that could go bankrupt, stop operating or leave without plugging wells is ridiculous.  This is a money grab from big operators – $20 million from one company.  

Donlin Gold talks about reclamation and finances ahead of public hearin
Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk, Bethel, August 28, 2018

Cleaning up a mine is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Dan Graham is in charge of Donlin Gold’s reclamation plans and permitting process. “We’ve learned from the past and advanced through the environmental review process,” Graham said Reclamation is relatively new in the long history of mining in the United States. It came into existence in the late 20th century as more information came to light over the damage that mining does to the environment. What it means is that mining companies must restore the patch of land that they mined. And according to Alaska law, they have to pay for it. The Kuskoswkim Corporation (TKC) owns the surface rights to the proposed mine site, while the Calista Regional Native Corporation owns the subsurface rights. Both are major players in drafting the reclamation plan. “So the state, TKC, and Calista will not be on the hook to pay for the reclamation and closure,” TKC vice president Andrea Gusty said.

Our Take:  Kudos to Donlin for the being the first mine in Alaska’s history to propose monitoring water – forever.  

Platts JKM, the benchmark LNG spot price, has revealed three important surprises over the past three years.  In 2015, most analysts expected the LNG market to weaken considerably, increasingly de-correlate from oil and reduce seasonality. Three years of JKM analysis counters all three expectations — as well as re-emphasizing the importance of market-based LNG pricing, and derivatives — in helping market participants flexibly react to unforeseen developments.

Our Take: Great read on the reality of the LNG market.  

A plan calling for nearly $84 billion in Chinese investment in West Virginia petrochemical and natural gas projects will be honored despite the rumblings of a trade war between the US and China, the head of the Chinese conglomerate making the investment push said in Hong Kong on Monday.   “We and the West Virginia government, and other related companies, have always been extremely aggressive in pushing forward this project,” China Energy Investment General Manager Ling Wen told reporters at a media briefing on the earnings of its China Shenhua Energy subsidiary.

Our Take: Who thought West Virginia could make Alaska look small?   “For perspective, the state’s extraction industries, including coal mining and oil and gas production, accounted for just over $9.8 billion of West Virginia’s $76.8 billion 2017 gross domestic product.   China Energy’s commitment comes to just over $4 billion/year.”

If you want to know what the world’s biggest oil companies are saying to their shareholders about climate change, look to Europe.  BP Plc, the U.K. energy giant that suffered a catastrophic oil spill eight years ago, refers to “carbon,” “emissions” and the Paris climate agreement more than any other major, according to an analysis of investor presentations over five years. California-based Chevron Corp. barely addresses those topics at all.

Our Take:  Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.  We wrote about this earlier – the US leading the charge in reducing emissions.  Outside of the Paris Agreement.