House of Cards

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OPEC Weighs a First-Ever Influence Campaign in the U.S.
Benoit Faucon and Timothy Puko, January 11, 2019

OPEC is debating an aggressive public-influence campaign aimed at U.S. lawmakers and the White House, a first in its six-decade history, according to officials at the organization. The proposed message is simple: OPEC plays a vital role in helping the U.S. economy. Although officials at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries don’t plan to meet directly with politicians and policy makers, the case for a lobbying effort has taken on new urgency. Members fear OPEC could fall under U.S. antitrust laws amid threats from the Trump administration and a barrage of tweets from President Trump accusing the group of inflating oil prices.

Oil at $60 on concerns of China slowdown
Reuters, January 14, 2019

Oil slipped to around $60 a barrel on Monday after data showed weakening imports and exports in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, raising the prospect of a slowdown in fuel demand. China’s exports fell by the most in two years in December while imports contracted, official figures showed, pointing to further weakness in what is also the world’s second-largest economy.

Memo: Staff would be affected by unorganized Alaska House
Associated Press, January 11, 2019

The Alaska Legislature’s human resources manager says legislative staff will be affected if the House does not organize a majority. Legislative Affairs Agency Human Resource Manager Skiff Lobaugh, in a memo, says the current speaker, Democrat Bryce Edgmon, temporarily approved staff using interim funding that extends through Tuesday, when the new session begins. But Lobaugh says if the House does not organize, session staff would not be considered authorized starting Wednesday, and having them work could raise liability issues.

Our Take:   #leadershipnow. Not paying staff who moved to Juneau is a bad way to start the session, not to mention the impact this will have on the ability of the Governor to advance his priorities – like strengthening public safety.

What’s Happening to Alberta’s Oil?
Petro Industry News, January 2, 2019

It’s no secret that the state of Alberta’s oil economy is turbulent, with a recent price collapse triggering fears of economic contagion. In the face of a downturn the Liberals aren’t holding back on scaling down operations, launching a series of strategic moves designed to curb production. This includes the introduction of new regulations and energy-hostile bills, as well as the withdrawal of tax incentives and abandonment of pipeline options.

Our Take:   Policy matters.   As Senator Wielechowski, once again, introduces legislation that is meant to reduce production, and thereby reduce income to the state, Alaska can learn from Alberta. Their “hostile” policies could cost Alberta $5 billion. Let’s not go there Alaska.