ANWR Lease Sale on January 6. Alaskans help Greenland with mining school.

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Chevron cuts capital spend plans, prioritizing U.S. oil plays
Simon Casey, World Oil, December 3, 2020

Chevron followed arch-rival Exxon Mobil in cutting its long-term capital spending plans, responding to this year’s slump in oil and expectations that prices won’t rebound any time soon.

The company said Thursday in a statement that capital and exploratory expenditure will be $14 billion to $16 billion annually from 2022 to 2025, down from a previous forecast of $19 billion to $22 billion.

The updated plan reflects the savage drop in crude during 2020, which has led the industry to make painful spending cuts. While oil has rebounded from the worst of its slump, prices remain below $50 a barrel, and the pandemic continues to weigh on global demand.

Chevron’s update plan also illustrates its evolving priorities in the years ahead. Spending at its $45 billion Tengiz oil project in Kazakhstan, which has gone massively over budget, is expected to decline, while expenditure will rise on shale production in the Permian Basin, and on conventional oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

In last-minute push, Trump administration announces ANWR lease sale for Jan. 6
Tegan Hanlon, Alaska’s Energy Desk, December 3, 2020

In a last-minute push, the Trump administration announced Thursday that it will auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in just over a month, setting up a final showdown with opponents before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The announcement of a lease sale in the refuge’s coastal plain comes sooner than some expected: The Bureau of Land Management did not wait for the prior step in the process to officially end before scheduling a sale date.

The sale, which is now set for Jan. 6, caps a bitter, decades-long battle over whether to drill in the coastal plain, and it seals the administration’s efforts to open the land to development. But the Trump administration’s plan for the sale may also draw legal challenges from drilling opponents, who could target the aggressive timeline in court.

“Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in announcing the first sale in advance of the December 2021 deadline set by law,” said a statement Thursday from BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett.


One Pipeline =38% reduction in emissions
Dominique Maria Bonessi, WAMU, December 3, 2020

Maryland’s three-member Board of Public Works unanimously approved a controversial 10-inch diameter natural gas pipeline under wetlands on the state’s Eastern Shore on Wednesday. But board members said they hoped it would be used as a bridge fuel to cleaner renewable energy sources in the future.

Part of the pipeline already exists and goes through Pennsylvania, Delaware and Wicomico County, Maryland. The approved project would extend the pipeline an additional 6.83 miles from Wicomico into Somerset County to provide natural gas to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the Eastern Correctional Institution. Another section of the pipeline could expand south into Virginia’s eastern shore in the near future, state officials said.


Alaskans to assist Greenland mine school
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, November 25, 2020

Experts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Mining and Petroleum Training Service (MAPTS) will help Greenland establish an underground mine training center as interest in the Arctic nation’s rich mineral resources grows.

In recent years, mining companies from around the world have been exploring and developing large deposits of rare earths, titanium, and uranium identified in Greenland – as well as the gold, gemstones and other minerals also found there.

On Nov. 23, the United States Bureau of Energy Resources announced that Greenland and the U.S. are advancing mutual commitments to sound mineral sector governance in the Arctic nation through technical engagement with the Greenland School of Minerals and Petroleum, locally known as KTI Råstofskolen, or KTI.


Grassley proposes 50% hike in oil, gas royalties on federal land
James Q. Lynch, Gazette Des Moines Bureau, December 3, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling for an end to an “outrageous giveaway” to oil and gas companies by raising the royalties they pay for oil and gas production on federal lands by 50 percent.  The increase would end what the Iowa Republican calls an “unnecessary subsidy” to Big Oil by updating the royalties established in the century-old Mineral Leasing Act when automobiles had just started to replace the horse and buggy and the oil industry was relatively new.  Grassley and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., are proposing the Fair Returns for Public Lands Act.


Climate purity tests for Biden nominees split enviros
Zack Colman, Politico, December 3, 2020

Climate change activists who helped rally progressive voters behind Joe Biden in the election are now testing their political capital by putting the president-elect’s nominees through a purity test to make sure they are devoted to eliminating fossil fuels.

Many green activists are insisting Biden reject anyone for posts in his administration who previously worked with fossil fuel companies or Wall Street firms that invested in coal, oil, or natural gas. But that no-compromise stance is causing splits inside the climate movement, since it would rule out some top Obama administration hands with years of experience from helping implement the climate policies that Biden has said would be a centerpiece of his presidency.