Today’s Key Takeaways: BlackRock clarifies ESG stance. Biden’s proposed NPR-A plan threatens future projects and infrastructure. Marathon continues to evaluate conversion of Kenai LNG terminal for imports. AK DOT works to improve roads used for Manh Choh mining project. Americans say: What EV tax credits?
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, has been making the rounds to clarify the companies position on the controversial topic of ESG:
For example, here is Larry Fink’s interview on Fox Business from last week that led to story by The Daily Caller highlighting Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino’s tweet that Larry told SEC Chair Gary Gensler to back off some ESG policies – including Scope 3 related corporate carbon footprint disclosure requirements.
Additionally, he was on the Wall Street Journal’s Free Expression podcast with Gerry Baker. Some highlights from that conversation:
On ESG/Scope 3 Emissions
- “So, there are three different measures of your carbon footprint, and scope 3 is all your vendors and all your clients and all that stuff. We have been hostilely against that. The SEC’s trying to pose that as a platform.”
On ESG/Environmental Proxy Voting
- “[Last year] we voted against almost all the proposals that quote unquote were ‘environmental.’ The reason why is the SEC changed the standards to what can be included in a proxy vote. And most of it is non-economic, and we vote against it.”
On Energy Investing
- “We have never said one time ever that we would divest [from traditional energy companies]. In fact, in the last few years, we’ve been awarded more business from different energy companies than almost anybody. We were even awarded Chevron’s entire defined contribution plan in the last year.”
- “I mean, we offer choice. So, we are working with every company, every client, “What would you like to do?” We’re working with financial advisors across the world to provide choice to our clients. And I believe that’s what we do really well. If you want to invest in hydrocarbons, we will select the best hydrocarbon companies in the world for you. If you want to invest in a more decarbonized portfolio, we’re going to try to find the best economic portfolio that will achieve your financial goal.”
Biden Alaska Oil Plan Seen as Major Threat to Future Drilling
Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg, October 30, 2023
- Tighter rules risk viability of projects, ConocoPhillips warns
- Proposal would impact even existing leases, industry fears
A century after the US set aside a broad swath of northwest Alaska to be used as an emergency oil supply, the Biden administration is pursuing changes that could make it impossible to harvest crude from new leases in the 23-million-acre site.
The proposal for managing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska has alarmed oil industry advocates who say it would thwart development in a crude-rich region the size of Indiana. Alaska’s congressional delegation said the Biden administration is “suddenly and dramatically reinterpreting the law so that it can treat 13.1 million acres” of the reserve “as de facto federal wilderness.” And a top ConocoPhillips Co. executive says the changes stoke uncertainty about future oil projects and infrastructure across the region.
The proposal “would discourage investment on the North Slope by adding more layers of permitting requirements and restrictions, even for existing leases,” Erec Isaacson, the president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, said in an interview Thursday.
Marathon Petroleum Remains Committed to Plans for Alaskan LNG Imports
Jason Cocklin, Natural Gas Intelligence, October 30, 2023
Marathon Petroleum Corp. continues to evaluate converting its Kenai LNG export terminal in Alaska to import the super-chilled fuel, a project the company said ultimately could be larger than originally planned to help meet local natural gas demand.
FERC approved a Marathon subsidiary’s request in 2020 to convert the Kenai terminal, which hasn’t exported any LNG since 2015.
AK DOT improves roads as Manh Choh mining project moves forward
Alex Bengel, KTVF, October 26, 2023
Nearly two months ago, the Manh Choh Mine broke ground in a ceremony featuring Governor Mike Dunleavy.
The mine, located near the community of Tetlin, which is south of Tok, is projected to yield more than six hundred thousand ounces of gold out of raw ore, to be extracted over the next four and a half years.
In order to process the raw ore from the mine, the primary owner, Kinross Gold Corporation plans to truck it to a mill at their Fort Knox site north of Fairbanks.
Because of this, the project has garnered controversy in Interior Alaska since its announcement, with both the Fairbanks and North Pole City Councils expressing concerns over safety along the trucking route.
According to Kinross, mining operations began in mid-August after the project received its full permitting in May.
By the end of September, five to 10 thousand cubic yards of waste were being mined every day, with operations still ramping up.
According to Tyler Bruce, Project Director at the mine, “to develop the pits, you can’t start with your full operation. There physically isn’t the room. You first need to develop benches and working areas.”
Waste is essentially rock that doesn’t have gold content in it. This must first be extracted in order to reach the desired ore.
Exclusive: 40% of Americans say they’ve never heard of Biden’s EV tax credits
Ben Geman, Axios, October 30, 2023
Polling shared first with Axios shows huge swaths of Americans don’t know about federal subsidies up to $7,500 for buying electric vehicles.
- That’s per survey data from BlueLabs Analytics, a data sciences firm that works with Fortune 500 companies, advocacy groups and Democrats.
- Republican and Democratic respondents in the late-August poll show similar awareness, with about 40% of both camps knowing “nothing at all” about the subsidy.
Why it matters: Consumer knowledge gaps could undercut the substantive and political impact of the 2022 climate law, which provides tax breaks for home efficiency retrofits, EVs, green appliances, and much more.
State of play: 10% of respondents will “definitely” choose an electric model for their next purchase or lease, while another 28% “might.”
- 56% of Democrats say they will or might choose an EV, compared with 19% of Republicans — another sign of the red-blue EV divide.
- Black respondents are slightly less aware of the credit.
The intrigue: Women are slightly less likely to plan EV purchases and substantially less aware of the credit than men.
- Meagan Knowlton, head of BlueLabs’ sustainability practice, said prior research shows women prioritize product sustainability more than men.
- This suggests that “people are not necessarily looking at EVs as primarily a sustainability or climate-driven purchase.”
The bottom line: “We see it as an area of opportunity for raising awareness and education” about the overall results, Knowlton said.