Today’s Key Takeaways: Alaska Native leaders in DC to urge approval of Willow project that is a lifeline for residents of North Slope. CCUS project pipeline increased by 50% in 2022. Arctic is hot for mining EV metals. Governor Dunleavy eliminates requirement for college degree in most state jobs- emphasis on experience.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Alaska Native leaders, US senators back major oil project
Becky Bohrer, Associated Press, February 15, 2023
Alaska’s Republican U.S. senators and several Alaska Native leaders on Tuesday urged the federal government to approve a major oil project on the petroleum-rich North Slope, casting the project as economically critical for Indigenous communities in the region and important for the nation’s energy security.
The Biden administration “damn well better not kill the project, period,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on a video conference.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management earlier this month released an environmental review for ConocoPhillips Alaska’s Willow project that listed as a preferred alternative an option calling for up to three drill sites initially, compared to the five that had been favored by the company. It is an option project proponents, including Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation, have expressed support for. But Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan said any further limiting of the project could kill it.
Sullivan has said Willow could be “one of the biggest, most important resource development projects in our state’s history.” He last week urged state lawmakers in Alaska’s capital to pass a resolution expressing support for the project and to get involved in litigation that is likely to arise from whatever decision is rendered by the federal government. A decision could come in early March.
Taqulik Hepa, director of the Department of Wildlife Management for the North Slope Borough, said taxes levied on oil and gas infrastructure have enabled the borough to invest in public infrastructure, support local schools and provide police, fire, and other services.
Hepa said the borough and its residents are “keenly aware of the need to balance responsible oil development and the subsistence lifestyle that has sustained us.” She said the borough has demanded this balance be achieved in its dealings with government agencies and oil companies for decades.
Nagruk Harcharek, president of the group Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, whose members include leaders from across much of the North Slope, said there is “majority consensus” in the region in favor of the project, calling Willow a “lifeline” for residents. He said there are limited economic development opportunities in the region, which makes approval of the Willow project important.
OIL & GAS:
CCUS: 2023 will be a milestone year
Alana Tischuk, Scott Norlan, Wood Mackenzie, February 2023
Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) isn’t a new concept – industrial-scale projects have been around for more than half a century. But it is gathering pace. The global CCUS project pipeline has increased by over 50% throughout 2022 and announcements made across all sectors show incredible momentum. But more is needed if companies and countries are to meet their net zero targets.
Will 2023 be the year that CCUS really hits the mainstream? Drawing on powerful insight from Lens CCUS, we’ve mapped out our predictions for the year ahead. Fill in the form for your complimentary copy of CCUS: 4 things to look for in 2023. And read on for an introduction.
A shift from announcement to action for CCUS projects?
The global CCUS pipeline is growing fast. 166 Mtpa of potential CO2 storage capacity will enter development throughout 2023, through a combination of standalone projects and larger hubs. However, only 98 Mtpa of capture capacity is aiming for FID, representing a significant capture-storage gap.
We expect emitters to sign up once hubs are established, although many projects won’t be online until the end of the decade.
How many projects will reach FID this year? Which regions will dominate the project count? Where are the big hubs to watch? Read the full report for our view.
Increased policy support will drive CCUS growth.
Government policy plays a major role in CCUS project economics. It has, in some cases, provided more than 50% of the spend to get projects off the ground. This will continue in 2023 – and expand to new regions.
Asia will see more policy momentum, for example, having previously lagged behind other regions. Malaysia and Indonesia will finalise regulations and incentives for CCUS, focusing first on decarbonising natural gas production. India and Japan will make headway on their respective CCUS roadmaps. Finally, Thailand and China are expected to make strides in their funding framework.
In the US, positive policy moves made in 2022 – not least the landmark Inflation Reduction Act – will enable companies to advance projects in 2023.
For Mining EV Metals, the Arctic Is Hot
Stephen Wilmot, The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2023
As the U.S. turns to Canada for ‘critical minerals,’ Europe might come to rely on the historic mining hub of Sweden.
The rush to secure green-energy metals is bringing new life to one of the world’s oldest mining hubs.
Like the U.S., Europe is worried that it is too reliant on China for supplies of once-obscure natural resources, such as lithium and rare-earth metals, that are seen as climate-friendly successors to oil and gas. The European Union is due to announce policies to improve its green-energy security in a “critical raw materials act” next month. Self-sufficiency targets are among the options being discussed.
The U.S. is following a similar path, most aggressively through its new electric-vehicle tax credits. Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act stipulated that half of the credits’ $7,500 value per car would depend on manufacturers sourcing a rising proportion of “critical minerals” domestically or from trade partners, though the details are still being worked out.
On both sides of the Atlantic, one of the best answers to long-simmering worries about green-energy security is to look north—often far north. Remember President Donald Trump’s interest in buying Greenland for its mineral wealth in 2019? That was far-fetched, but Canada’s mining industry is booming with projects expected to feed the U.S. EV industry. Many of them sit on the “Canadian Shield,” a vast band of rock encircling Hudson Bay.
4-year degree no longer required for some state jobs
Joey Klecka, Elena Symmes, KTUU, February 14, 2023
Gov. Mike Dunleavy eliminated the requirement Tuesday for many state employees to hold a four-year college degree.
Dunleavy announced the change with the introduction of Administrative Order No. 343, which the governor said would open up the potential field of candidates for state jobs by looking more closely at practical experience, instead of holding all job applicants to ablanket four-year degree requirement.
This change affects “most state jobs,” Dunleavy said in a press release. It was unclear at the time of publication how many that would include.
Dunleavy’s order directs the Commissioner of the Department of Administration, Director of Personnel and Labor Relations — and encourages the Personnel Board — to “adopt, modernize, and amend the state personnel rules to place an emphasis on minimum competency requirements and allow for the broadest use of education, training, and experience in order to enhance recruitment and retention efforts in the state workforce.”