AK’s biggest federal burr? Saudi’s gift to oil market. Bye Bye Baseless lawsuits?

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Breaking News:  Three bidders on 11 leases at today’s ANWR lease sale:


Knik Arm Services LLC

Regenerate Alaska Inc.  


From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

MAKING SENSE OF SAUDI’S GIFT TO OIL MARKET: Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to voluntarily cut its oil production by 1 million barrels per day for the next two months provided a gift to fellow producers and the market, as the U.S. benchmark price breached $50 per barrel for the first time since February.

Some oil market observers were scratching their heads as to why Saudi Arabia would slash output and give up market share while allowing Russia — and also Kazakhstan — to increase production. Most of the rest of the OPEC+ alliance will keep their output steady, but historically the Saudis prefer all members to take a fair share of the cuts. U.S. shale producers, of course, will be able to benefit from the higher price and increase their output.

“The Saudi move, if realized, is not only offering a soft pillow to the oil market, but also a full set of blankets, bed covers and most likely the bed itself,” said Bjornar Tonhauge of Rystad Energy.

Matt Reed, the vice president of Foreign Reports, says Saudi Arabia’s decision makes sense, signaling the Kingdom’s concerns about the pace of the oil market recovery, and the health of the global economy.

“This move shows the Saudis aren’t taking a global economic recovery for granted,” Reed told Josh. “They want to help and they’re willing to do more than their fair share, knowing it will help them in the long run. They also know rising prices can be a shot in the arm for ailing U.S. producers. But they’re not worried about it.”

Connections:     Saudi Oil Exports to US Plunge


Proposal to build LNG terminal on Delaware River could pose early test for the Biden administration
Will Englund, The Washington Post, January 5, 2021

Environmental organizations have so far been unable to stop a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on the Delaware River but are hoping to find allies in the incoming Biden administration.

The terminal, in the New Jersey community of Gibbstown, would receive liquefied natural gas from the fracking fields of northeastern Pennsylvania by train or truck and dispatch it to the Caribbean by ship.

Opponents cite what they say would be the risk of environmental damage from the construction and from the operation of the terminal. They also question the safety of transporting 3 million to 4 million gallons of LNG a day through the Philadelphia metropolitan area — to a site that for a century was a DuPont dynamite factory.

The project could be an early test of the Biden administration’s commitment to stronger environmental measures and efforts to combat climate change. It has the backing of local elected officials, business leaders in southern New Jersey and, perhaps most significantly, labor unions that argue it will bring jobs to a distressed area.


It was the best and the worst of times
J.P. Tangen for North of 60 Mining News, December 30, 2020

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, now is a good time to reflect on and prognosticate about Alaska and things mining.

First, with regard to things past, from the impeachment to the election, 2020 was not a great year. Despite the incessant sniping at the President’s heels, the Administration almost survived for another term. Due to the weighting of the Electoral College system, some analysts tell us that a shift of only 22,000 votes would have changed the outcome. While the Trump White House did not do Alaska’s mining industry any great favors, it caused little identifiable harm – the Pebble imbroglio notwithstanding. Over Trump’s term, the federal regulators and the land-managing agencies did begin to fall in behind the leadership, and that was a good thing.

Alaska’s biggest federal burr remains the Army Corps of Engineers. Until there is a meaningful mandate to the Corps to facilitate project development consistent with the Corps’ Clean Water Act responsibilities, innovative approaches to recovery of minerals from the 174,000,000 acres the Corps oversees, will be vulnerable to a subjective perception of the public interest.


Sen. Chuck Schumer claiming Democratic majority in the Senate

Democrats Win One Senate Seat in Georgia: Second Race Too Close to Call


Supreme Court Hearing Should Signal Shift From Baseless Lawsuits to Realistic Climate Solutions
Guy Caruso, Real Clear Energy, January 6, 2021

For years, energy manufacturers have helped drive down U.S. carbon emissions by unleashing a flood of home-grown, low-carbon natural gas, reducing America’s carbon footprint even as we use more energy. At the same time, despite emissions reduction progress, a handful of cities and counties including Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, DC among others have sued energy manufacturers in the name of climate change, spurred on by ambitious trial attorneys and imaginative legal theories.

Federal law is clear, though, with the Supreme Court clearly ruling in American Electric Power v. Connecticut in 2011 that it’s EPA’s job to regulate carbon emissions. That’s why trial attorneys have fought so hard to move climate lawsuits to state courts and that’s why a January 19th Supreme Court hearing could be so important. Major energy firms have asked justices to send Baltimore’s climate lawsuit to federal court, creating a potential legal precedent that could effectively sink the climate lawsuit cottage industry.

Let’s be honest. Climate lawsuits aren’t really about climate anyway. For example, while attorneys argue publicly that such lawsuits are about reducing fossil fuel use in the name of climate, their filings seek only damages, not regulation of emissions or other policies that would actually help our climate. And the so-called damages?  While cities like Oakland claim billions in climate change damages in legal filings, they sing a different tune in bond offerings, with Oakland officials saying they are “unable to predict” climate change’s impact on the city. The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project examined the motivations driving these lawsuits in a recent report.  The report found that University of Oregon School of Law Professor Mary Christina Wood, who is involved in advancing climate lawsuit strategies stated, “Building sea walls and repairing roads won’t do anything to fix our global climate system, but it will drain the profits of the fossil fuel companies.