Today’s Key Takeaways: Vivek Ramaswamy “Human flourishing requires fossil fuels’ – closing statement at GOP debate. ConocoPhillips Alaska Nuna project online in 2025. Australian LNG strike averted. Replacing Russian uranium in New Mexico.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
CLIMATE “HOAX” GETS SHORT SHRIFT: The first Republican presidential debate took an unexpected turn late Wednesday night as the issue of climate change and energy became front and center early on. But not everyone’s answers were welcomed by the audience.
Biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramasamy got booed on stage after he claimed that the “climate change agenda is a hoax.”
Debate hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum asked the candidates if they believed in human-induced climate change and how they would quell fears amongst young conservative voters that the GOP doesn’t care about the issue.
Ramaswamy’s response: “Let us be honest as Republicans. I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for, so I can say this: The climate change agenda is a hoax. … The reality is the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy. And so the reality is, more people are dying of bad climate change policy than they are of actual climate change.”
The young entrepreneur’s denial of climate change got loud disapproval from the audience.
A number of the GOP candidates chimed into counter Ramasamy’s narrative.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley asserted that Republicans do in fact “care about clean air, clean water … but there’s a right way to do it.” Haley proceeded to jab at President Joe Biden for his investments into electric vehicles, claiming that these investments will fund China’s market — and called for pressuring China and India to lower their emissions.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) touted his “Made in America” plan as the way to move the needle on the environment.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) took it as an opportunity to bash Biden and his response to the Maui wildfires. “Are you kidding me? As someone that’s handled disasters in Florida, you got to be activated. You got to be there, you got to be present, you got to be helping people.” However, when pressed if his answer meant that he believed in human-induced climate change, he didn’t answer.
The candidates at large: Several of the debaters took their swipes on the Biden administration’s energy policies, arguing for domestic production of oil and gas and the mining of critical minerals in the U.S. instead of relying on foreign adversaries such as China and Russia.
The significance: While it was to be expected that the candidates would take their turns jabbing at the current president for his energy policies, what was unforeseen was the issue of climate change being addressed early on in the debate. An issue that has rarely taken precedence within GOP campaigns took a national front seat at the fore of the debate — and was framed as an important issue to young Republican voters.
Several conservative environmental groups watching the debate took note.
Danielle Butcher Franz, CEO of the American Conservation Coalition, told the Washington Examiner it was a “remarkable thing to see climate featured so prominently at the first GOP debate.”
“It was even more remarkable to hear an audience full of GOP primary voters booing climate denial. Last night made it clear that climate skepticism is no longer acceptable in our leaders — the conservative climate movement is here to stay.”
“Republicans have been working on economically sustainable climate solutions for years and it’s great to see the beginning of those policy debates take shape with the Presidential candidates,” Luke Bolar, chief external affairs officer of ClearPath Action, said in a statement.
Nuna Project, Alaska, USA
Offshore Technology, August 23, 2023
The Nuna onshore project, located in the Kupurak River Unit, North Slope, Alaska, is expected to commence production in 2025.
The Nuna project is an onshore oilfield development being undertaken by ConocoPhillips (Alaska) in the North Slope of Alaska, US.
ConocoPhillips Alaska entered an agreement with Caelus Natural Resources Alaska to fully acquire the Nuna prospect in June 2019. The purchase included 11 tracts spread over 21,000 acres and a gravel road with a drill site.
Funding for the development of the Nuna project was approved in June 2023. Construction work is expected to start in 2023 with pipeline and on-pad construction planned for 2024. The project is expected to produce 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) at its peak.
The project will support further development and production of petroleum reserves within the Kuparuk River Unit.
Nuna project location and discovery details
The Nuna project is located to the east of the Colville River. The site is located within the Kuparuk River Unit (KRU) located approximately 64km (40 miles) west of Deadhorse, Alaska. The site lies about 8km (5 miles) southwest of the Oooguruk Field.
The prospect was discovered in 2012. The permit to develop the project was initially owned by Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, which transferred it to Caelus Energy in September 2014.
Nuna project development details
Caleus completed the construction of the drill site 3T (DS-3T) gravel pad and an access road. Two wells were also drilled within the Torok Formation by Caelus, which were suspended in 2013. The project will support the production of oil from Moraine Reservoir within the Torok Formation.
The permit for the construction of two Class I Non-Hazardous Industrial waste injection wells
to be drilled and constructed at the Nuna project site was issued in April 2016. The Unit Plan of Operations for the development of the Nuna Project at DS-3T was submitted to the Oil and Gas Division of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in November 2022.
Drilling activities are expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2024 and will extend through 2027, while the first oil is anticipated in the second quarter of 2025. The DS-3T gravel work is set to commence in August 2023 and will include pipeline casing installations.
The single production module is expected to be delivered in the summer of 2024. Construction of pipelines will commence in November 2023, while pipeline hydrostatic testing will commence in August 2024.
Nuna project details
The Nuna project involves the development of 29 wells out of 50 permitted wells, on-pad infrastructure, and pipelines at DS-3T.
It will be tied back to the existing KRU processing facilities via 4.82km (3 miles) of new pipelines. Power will be supplied from the DS-3S drill site located 3.7km (2.3 miles) away, via a 34.5kV transmission line. The power line will be attached to the proposed pipelines via messenger cable.
The pipelines planned for connecting to the DS-3S infrastructure will consist of a 16-inch diameter oil pipeline, an eight-inch diameter water injection pipeline and an eight-inch diameter gas injection pipeline.
The pipelines are planned to be installed on 320 vertical support members and new horizontal support members.
Drill Site expansion details
The drilling of wells requires the expansion of the southeast side of the DS-3T gravel pad consisting of an existing 19.6-acre gravel pad, a 1.4km-long gravel access road and two wells earlier suspended in 2023.
The gravel pad is planned to be expanded by one acre, the 1.6km (2.9-mile) access road by two acres and the access road intersection close to DS 3T by 0.7 acres.
The DS-3T gravel pad is proposed to be expanded by adding 52,200 cubic yards of clean gravel onto 3.73 acres of tundra.
Kuparuk River Unit details
The Kuparuk oilfield was discovered in 1969 and is operated by ConocoPhillips with a 94.5% stake. Chevron and ExxonMobil hold 4.9% and 0.6% stakes respectively in the field. The field is located 64km west of Prudhoe Bay.
The field infrastructure includes three central production facilities and a seawater treatment plant. The field currently has more than 500 active wells. The average production from Kuparuk was 47 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2022.
Tarn, Tabasco, West Sak and Meltwater are the satellite fields tied back to the Kuparuk production facilities.
Contractors involved in the Nuna project.
Cruz Construction provided construction services including mobilisation and operation of the remote camp, development of the mine site, construction of the road, placing gravel for the road and pad improvement and associated facilities for the Nuna onshore oil project.
Woodside, unions reach deal at Australian LNG facility, workers meet to ratify
Renju Jose, Florence Tan, Reuters, August 24, 2023
Woodside Energy (WDS.AX) on Thursday reached an in-principle agreement with unions at Australia’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, potentially averting a disruption to supplies from one of the world’s biggest exporters of the super-chilled fuel.
The agreement caused a sharp fall in Dutch and British wholesale gas prices on Thursday, with the benchmark Dutch September contract shedding 11.5%, after hitting a two week-low earlier.
The race to ditch Russian uranium starts in New Mexico’s desert
Bloomberg News, August 23, 2023
In a remote, dusty corner of New Mexico, so near to the Texas border that if you wander too close your smartphone changes time zones, sits a pristine factory that is the best chance for the US to wean itself off an addiction that few knew it had: uranium enriched in Russia.
Outside the $5 billion Urenco plant in Eunice, cacti and lizards bask in the fierce sunlight, watched by heavily armed guards. Inside, the facility is spotless, with bright, polished machinery that looks brand new even though some of the equipment has been in service for years. Hundreds of centrifuges, each at least 20 feet tall, spin at supersonic speeds and generate an ear-piercing whine that reverberates across a cavernous hall, where they separate the uranium isotopes needed to make fuel for nuclear power plants. For security reasons, parts of the piping that connect the Eunice machines are shielded from curious visitors.
The plant supplies about one-third of US demand for enriched uranium and is in the process of boosting output by 15%. It’s the centerpiece of a transatlantic project to rejuvenate production of the fuel to feed the West’s fleet of nuclear reactors, a linchpin of energy security and efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Urenco Ltd. is the only commercial supplier of enriched uranium in North America. Currently, about half of the global supply comes from Russia, an uncomfortable reality for leaders in the US and Europe in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.