Groups divided over Alaska oil tax ballot measure
Joe Vigil, KTVA, July 27, 2020
Scott Jepsen, vice president of External Affairs and Transportation for ConocoPhillips Alaska, recently discussed investment plans on the North Slope during a media briefing. “When you take a look at the plans that have been talked about for Prudhoe, Kaparuk and Alpine, there’s about $10 billion on a gross basis of new investment that’s planned for these fields. It’s going to add hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of new production and generate obviously thousands of jobs in support of that, support thousands of jobs,” said Jepsen.
He also discussed what might happen if the Fair Share Act passes. “If you pass a huge tax increase on these three core fields, we will act like rational investors. And we’ll invest where it makes the best returns for us. And if Alaska doesn’t make sense, which it won’t under this tax initiative, you can expect we’ll be sending our money to other places and it’s going to be significant,” said Jepsen.
Our Take: Robin Brena’s claim in this article that the new tax would bring in a billion dollars annually to the state is grossly inaccurate. At current oil prices, which are projected to stay low for 18-24 months, the number is closer to $250 million.
First ice-breaking LNG carrier calls Japan from Yamal
Bob Jacques, Seatrade Maritime News, July 27, 2020
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) reports that the ice-breaking LNG Carrier Vladimir Rusanov, has made its maiden call at the LNG Terminal in Ohgishima, Tokyo Bay, becoming the first ice-breaking LNGC to call at Japan. MOL jointly owns and operates the Vladimir Rusanov with Cosco for the Yamal LNG project. The vessel departed the Yamal LNG plant at Sabetta port on 29June, sailing eastwards along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) via the Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea, the East Bering Sea, the Chukchi sea, and the Bering Strait.
Meanwhile in the U.S…
Trouble Ahead As Builder Of USCG Heavy Icebreaker Abruptly Changes Leadership
Craig Hooper, Forbes, June 30, 2020
Is the Coast Guard’s new Heavy Icebreaker Program in trouble? On June 9, the White House issued a somewhat unusual memo, emphasizing that “the United States requires a ready, capable, and available fleet of polar security icebreakers” by Fiscal Year 2029. Four days later, Ronald Baczkowski, President and CEO of VT Halter Marine, the contracted builder of America’s first new polar security icebreaker, abruptly resigned. Two days after that, ST Engineering North America, VT Halter Marine’s parent company, announced the appointment of a third shipyard president in the space of four years, Robert Merchent.
It’s a start – processing heavy rare earths in America
Bruno Venditti, MINING.COM, July 27, 2020
Lynas Corp (LYC.AX) announced on Monday it has signed a contract with the US Department of Defense to begin initial design work for its heavy rare earth separation facility in Texas that the Pentagon is providing initial funding for. The funding will allow the company and US partner Blue Line to complete a market and strategy study for the construction, the company said in a press release. Lynas expects the work to be completed in the 2021 financial year. The facility will process heavy rare earths sourced from Lynas’ flagship Mt Weld mine in Western Australia.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
CRITICAL MINERALS MEASURE INCLUDED IN GOP PANDEMIC BILL: Senate Republicans’ latest pandemic relief bill, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top GOP senators unveiled Monday, includes Senate Energy Committee-led efforts to boost domestic production of critical minerals.
The inclusion comes as Republican lawmakers in both chambers have raised increasing concerns about U.S. reliance on other countries, especially China, for critical minerals used in everything from military equipment to electric cars. Murkowski’s American Mineral Security Act, introduced last year, seeks to speed permitting for critical minerals mining, identify U.S. critical mineral deposits, and invest in research and development of recycling and alternatives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the fact that our nation is heavily dependent on imports for a wide array of goods and technologies that are essential to our health, economy, and security,” Murkowksi said in a statement, adding the U.S. must “reverse our damaging dependence on China and other nations and rebuild domestic supply chains” for those materials.
Where Alaska’s congressional delegation stands on the new $1 trillion COVID-19 aid package
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, July 28, 2020
Members of Alaska’s all-Republican congressional delegation have indicated they want to balance continued high unemployment levels with the nation’s debt and other concerns, as Republican senators released a new $1 trillion relief package to combat COVID-19′s economic fallout. The measure released Monday by Senate Republicans, known as the “Heals Act” package, included proposals reducing a weekly federal unemployment boost from $600 to $200, issuing a second round of stimulus checks and adding an additional $100 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program that has helped businesses cope with the pandemic.
Alaska House Republicans seek to unseat fellow Republican Rep. David Eastman
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, July 27, 2020
To take control of the Alaska House of Representatives, several Republican legislators are saying they first need to get rid of Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla. Over the weekend, members of the House’s Republican minority went door-to-door in Eastman’s district, trying to garner support for his Republican primary challenger, Jesse Sumner. The primary is Aug. 18, and since the state’s current House districts were put into place, the Republican primary winner has won the district every time.